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The Maven’s Election Diaries: If you love Canada, vote strategically

In The Maven on April 27, 2011 at 12:05 AM

Image credit: abadallahh

By The Maven | After all is said and done we have to make a decision on who to vote for. For some it’s easy. They always vote the same party. For others a certain issue or subset of issues has driven them to a party. Still others are concerned with strategic voting.

I have pretty much always voted NDP. But not always.

In every election the Conservatives have been the boogeyman. When the Liberals are favoured to win I feel free to vote my conscience. But with the Conservatives slated to win I always give consideration to strategy.

Here in Trinity-Spadina there is no concern that the Conservatives could win so the decision comes more easily. It’s not that simple in many ridings in the country.

But it seems unfair to the NDP and the left in general to always have to weigh conscience against strategy. And it plays into the hands of those who believe in a two-party system.

Many question whether it matters if the Liberals or Conservatives hold power…they are both small ‘c’ conservative and pro-business. But I think that is not a realistic appraisal of the situation.

Under some red Tories and some conservative Liberal leaders the difference may not look too great. But if, say, you were poor or disabled or lived in a city, Mike Harris in Ontario meant an awful lot to you. Whether welfare cuts or amalgamation in Toronto, you were hit hard. And the deficits that result from  screwball right-wing economic theories prevalent in conservative circles are frightening.

No, Stephen Harper isn’t just a Conservative. He is a Republican-style conservative of a type we don’t see often here in Canada. His style is acutely partisan and autocratic. He has prorogued Parliament. He has fired civil servants who disagree with him. He has waged dirty campaigns against whistle blowing bureaucrats–all in complete contradiction of his espoused views while he was in opposition.

He invited the military to his first Throne Speech, an action which I find particularly troublesome and very American.

But, honestly, what worries me most is his economic policies which seem determined to drive Canada into massive deficits and which have seemingly no strategy to encourage competitiveness. Like after Mike Harris and Brian Mulroney, we are going to be painfully digging ourselves out of debt for years after the Conservatives are through with their mismanagement of the economy.

I do agree with the Conservatives that this election is about the economy and that is why I am in absolute dread of them achieving a majority.

I don’t like having to vote for a party whose policies are not as tuned to me as my preferred option but I think this election is indeed a turning point for Canada. Harper is one of those politicians who has the potential to do long-lasting harm. He will be destructive to the economy and is very dangerous to the culture of Canada–the political culture.

I think Harper’s Canada is a game changer. And the polls put him on the doorstep of a majority.

If ever there was an election to vote strategically this surely is it.

I would urge anyone in a riding where the Liberals are leaders to abandon the NDP and vote Liberal. Likewise I would urge Liberals to vote NDP in those ridings (eg: in B.C.) that seem likely to defeat a Conservative. While I really would like to see a Green MP in the House, surely this is a time to vote against the Conservatives… unless a Conservative doesn’t threaten in your riding. Five years of ignoring the environment isn’t going to be good.

Unfortunately the party with the most seats will form the government. That party is almost certain to be the Conservatives. The Canadian electorate has been miseducated by the Conservatives to believe that it is illegitimate for several minority parties to try to form a government if none of them have a plurality of seats.

I only hope the Conservatives can be held to a minority.

As for me, as I said, I have the luxury of voting my preference. Yes, I know the NDP is not the party many would like it to be. At times I don’t feel like it has an understanding that there is actually an economy and businesses out there that need to create wealth to pay for social services. I often feel that it doesn’t consider productivity issues enough. And it certainly seems to have lost much of the grand vision and settled for tax tinkering (like the other parties). And it nearly faltered on the gun registry. But if we wait for a political party that reflects all our concerns, we will hand the future to the Conservatives.

Please vote and please think about the larger implications.

If you are not certain about what is your best strategic option, may I suggest you check out Project Democracy. They list, riding by riding, your best shot at defeating a Conservative candidate after analysing every public opinion poll as it comes out.


In Election Diaries, The Maven comments on the leaders, the parties, the issues and the campaigns for Canada’s 41st federal election.

Read more of The Maven’s Election Diaries at

For past articles by The Maven on the West Annex News, visit The Maven archive.

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