Too early for a post on strategic voting?
In a historic vote today, the Canadian government was found in contempt of Parliament. It's a shame they couldn't have also been found in contempt of the Canadian people, of logic, of sound policy-making and in contempt of a host of other principles that I hold dear. But I digress.
Unfortunately, the polls show that a sizeable proportion of the Canadian electorate doesn't care what Prime Minister Lego-Hair does, they still plan to vote for him. This means that we're likely to see a variant of the 2008 election, with nailbiter races across the country. It'll be particularly bad in my neck of the woods, southwestern Ontario, where Canada's Action Plan signs have proliferated in an effort to win votes for the Conservative contemptuous government.
So what is a left-of-centre voter to do? Is it even possible to vote strategically? Should you vote for the best party, or the least objectionable of your non-Conservative options? Do you vote for the well-intentioned local candidate or the party? Do you try to read the proverbial tea leaves and cast your ballot for the candidate who might be best positioned to beat the local Conservative?
There will be better-informed posts on the issue of strategic voting as the campaign unfolds. But here's my two cents. In many ridings across the country, your preferred non-Conservative candidate might well be a complete no-hoper to win. In many cases, an opposition party might have won a squeaker race in your riding the last time around, beating the local Conservative, but it might not have been your preferred party. In those cases, I would urge you to vote for the opposition party that is best positioned to beat the Conservatives, whether they be a NDP or Liberal incumbent MP, or the Green, NDP or Liberal challenger who stands the best chance of unseating the local Conservative. Inform yourself before you vote - look at the results of past elections in your riding to see how the parties have historically fared. Strategic voting, to my mind, means voting a certain way only if there is a high probability that one party's candidate is the only one likely to defeat a certain candidate.
So if your riding is usually a toss-up between the Liberals and the NDP, with a Conservative no-hoper, then vote your conscience! If all the opposition parties fared equally well last time around in your riding, then pick the one you like best and hope they come out on top. But if the last race was a nail-biter between the Conservative and a candidate from another party, and your top priority is to defeat Harper, then I'd urge you to hold your nose and vote for that party, even if it's not your absolute favorite. For me, this means I'll probably be voting Liberal here in Guelph, even though I haven't voted for the federal Liberals since 2000. (I probably would have in 2004 if I had been living anywhere other than Outremont - but Jean Lapierre was simply too horrible to contemplate supporting.) If I lived in another part of the country, say Edmonton-Strathcona, I'd be urging my Liberal friends to vote NDP. It's only in the really close races that I'm urging this type of voting strategy. But to my mind, any of the parties outside of Quebec are better than Harper.
Fingers crossed, we won't be in this same mess six weeks from now, or at least, the mess won't be any worse.Recommend this Post