The Edmonton Sun
Saturday, May 31, 1997

Hamburger poll ban makes hash of democracy

by Scott Haskins,

Have you seen the latest opinion poll? Somebody is going to be in big trouble if you have. The federal branch of Morons Making Decisions, elections department, has decreed that time ran out on your right-to-know clock this morning at 12:01.

Survey says ... none of your damn business.

I could tell you about the latest poll in the frantic race for the highest seat in the land, who's leading and who's loafing, but then I'd have to kill you.

Going to the polls on Monday is good. It's called democracy and it's your duty as an adult member of our society to cast a ballot. It will allow you to cast disparaging remarks later with a clear conscience.

Not voting means you're quite comfortable leaving the fate of your country up to that 18-year-old with green hair and a nose ring I saw outside Mac's the other night. At least he was just holding up the lamppost and not the store itself.

So you can go to the polls Monday, but heaven help you if you take a poll or reveal the results of a poll between now and then.

If you're confused, that's good. This is politics, my fellow electors. It's not supposed to make sense.

Freedom of speech has the weekend off. There will be no reading about a poll in this newspaper. You won't find a poll on TV or hear a poll discussed on radio, either.

It's called contempt, and contempt can be expensive.

The Chief Electoral Officer says there will be no polls on how electors will vote. And there will be no polls on an election issue that would permit the identification of the party of a candidate.

I think it has something to do with the old saying: what you don't know can't hurt them.

If the leaders of this country can stumble around in the dark for weeks, you can do it for a couple of days.

No old polls, no new polls. No scientific polls. No unscientific polls. And no surveys, either. It should be pointed out for anyone who may try to skirt the issue - Coun. Michael Phair comes to mind - that polls and surveys are the same thing. Don't try to get cute.

Evidently, Elections Canada believes we're mushrooms better left in the dark and fed BS right up until the big moment when you mark your X and stick it in a box.

A poll, any poll, by any form of media, could corrupt the minds of voters, brainwashing them into believing something that just isn't true. Untruths in politics? Imagine that.

Just because the people I'm being asked to endorse don't have a mind of their own doesn't mean I don't. If I was worried about what other people think, I wouldn't be talking about green-haired hooligans with nose rings.

If you haven't been paying attention as we went along, and you don't know your local Liberal from the Jehovah's Witness guy who keeps coming to the door, don't come looking for help now.

Elections Canada won't even allow the publication of what it calls a "hamburger" poll. I may be risking jail here, but I still feel compelled to inform you that a solid 82% of the people in my back yard last night liked barbecue sauce on theirs.

That's what I think of their damn publication ban. And furthermore, an IGA meat manager tells me 90% of Canadians prefer extra lean hamburger.

Shouldn't we try to make an informed choice on who might be the lesser of four -- five, if you count the Bloc-heads -- evils? And shouldn't opinion polls be part of our available information?

I guess not. Like I said before, an election is not supposed to make sense.

The media cannot report the voting intentions of Canadians, but I think I can get away with saying that 98% of Canadians think politicians in general are a bunch of lyin', cheatin' scumbags who would do anything to get elected.

But, hey, that's just a guess -- not a poll.

Copyright © 1997 by The Edmonton Sun. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.