Congratulations to the USA on winning a wonderful Women’s World Cup. I’ve seen six games and some outstanding play in the 2015 tournament, including a couple of cracking goals in the final. To have been in Vancouver’s stadium with more than 53,000 other spectators on three occasions – less than 25 years after my sister had to campaign to be allowed to play football at school – was a great experience.
I recently had the chance to pay a brief visit to Lasqueti Island in the Strait of Georgia. There wasn’t time to venture very far from the dock, but I was quite content given the view.
City of Glass has become a nickname for Vancouver – one given prominence thanks to Douglas Coupland’s book of the same name.
The famous author’s observation about the city he lives in is borne out by an amble downtown. I took just such a leisurely stroll on a sunny afternoon this past weekend and my camera was drawn to the play of light and reflection off the glass.
Since I moved to British Columbia last year I have been told many times that the NDP were going to win the 2013 provincial election. Tonight they lost – comprehensively. Almost everyone except the most optimistic Liberal was surprised. But those predicting an NDP win were backed up by polls predicting they should win comfortably. With support at 48 per cent, the NDP entered the campaign 19 per cent clear of their Liberal rivals according to an Ipsos-Reid poll.
During the campaign the polls clearly tightened. By the start of May the Liberals had chopped that lead in half, a new Ipsos Reid poll showed. They were polling at 35 per cent (up six per cent) while the NDP was at 45 per cent (down three per cent), as the Liberals at this stage appeared to benefit from the drop away in support for the BC Conservatives (down three per cent to seven per cent).
The day before polling day, Ipsos-Reid found a further tightening of race, with the NDP on 45 per cent (no change) and the Liberals up two per cent to 37 per cent. This is not to pick on Ipsos-Reid. An Angus-Reid poll conducted in the two days before election day was remarkably similar, putting the NDP on 45 per cent and the Liberals on 36 per cent.
Today, at the polls that actually decide the election, the result was totally reversed. At the time of writing, with the last few votes still being counted, the Liberals are on 44 per cent and the NDP are on 39 per cent. So what went so wrong for the pollsters?
That is something that will be debated at length in the days and weeks to come, but an initial look at the polling data offers some avenues for investigation.
The last Ipsos-Reid poll noted: “The NDP currently has the support of 45% of decided voters in BC.”
Angus-Reid’s final poll said: “Across British Columbia, 45 per cent of decided voters and leaners (unchanged since Friday) would cast a ballot for the BC NDP candidate in their riding in the provincial election.”
The big unknown I cannot see in the headline data provided is how many undecided voters were sampled and excluded? Did those undecided voters break disproportionately for the Liberals?
Another question to consider is did the young people that took part in the surveys actually go out and vote? Traditionally older electors tend to be better at getting down to the polling station and converting their voting intentions into actual votes. The final Angus-Reid poll found voters aged 18 to 34 were intending to vote for the NDP by 54 per cent to 22 per cent for the Liberals, while the same poll found support for the two parties almost evenly split among the over 55 per cents.
The polls also had quite large margins of error (+/- four per cent for Ipsos-Reid’s final poll, +/- 3.5 per cent for Angus-Reid), but it is also perfectly possible that the pollsters were accurately reporting what people were telling them. There can be a tendency for voters to not declare their support for a party if it is not perceived as being the most popular or trendy. And then there is also the possibility that the Liberal campaign won voters, or the NDP turned voters off, during the final day of campaigning.
Clearly something happened and the autopsy is only just beginning.
Nearly 50,000 runners turned out for the Vancouver Sun Run today, many showing support for the Boston Marathon bombing victims by wearing blue and yellow.
It echoed the similarly heartening display of solidarity shown by runners and spectator at the London Marathon earlier today for those affected by the April 15 attack that killed eight-year-old Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, 29, and Lu Lingzi, 23.
A terrible bomb attack in Boston today has killed at least three and injured dozens of people. As a marathon runner myself, I can imagine what the athlete in the following video must have been going through even before the cheers of the crowd turned to screams.
Running a marathon requires strength of will. Running 26.2 miles is not easy. Despite weeks of training covering hundreds of kilometres, the average runner will probably be suffering in the last quarter of the race. Your body might be telling you there is nothing left, it may be screaming in pain, but your brain keeps you going. Your mind tells you to just keep putting one foot in front of another and, step by step, you make it to the finish line. Marathon runners have the will power to push on through to the end.
The contrast between them, their supporters and the coward or cowards who carried out today’s heinous attack cannot be starker. The runners have strived to achieve, their supporters backed them all the way. The cowards, on the other hand, wished only to destroy to try to provoke fear.
But I am sure they could not have picked on a more inappropriate group of people to attempt to cow. Marathon runners know how to overcome and carry on. Their supporters know how much it means to reach the finish line.
The nature of a marathon and the way it winds its way through kilometre after kilometre of crowd-thronged streets means preventing a bomb attack is almost impossible. Next week, another huge marathon takes place in London. The organisers have said they expect it to go ahead. Next month, a marathon will take place in Vancouver. Barring serious injury, I will be there on the start line. I will think of the runners in Boston and their supporters, but I will not be cowed. The terrorists have killed and they have maimed, but they will not win.
Like thousands of others, I will race.
I have been trying out the five megapixel camera on my new mobile phone. I was quite pleased with this evening shot from downtown Vancouver so I thought I’d share it. The image has been slightly cropped and stamped, but aside from that I have not altered the picture in anyway.
Here are a few more pictures I took at the sand sculpting competition in Parksville on Saturday. I held them back because I had offered them to the Nanaimo Daily News for publication. I’m pleased to say they published a couple of them yesterday.
This dragon in the air above British Columbia was not a real one but a kite. Nevertheless, it was still spellbinding to watch it swooping and gliding in the sky.