Waking up this morning, I’m feeling relief that the Conservatives have been reduced to under 100 seats and Stephen Harper is no longer Prime Minister, but I’m disappointed that the NDP and Greens didn’t do better. It was clear in the last few weeks that the Liberals had the momentum and voters latched on to the hope that they could defeat the Conservatives. Unfortunately, that enthusiasm for change meant that some good NDP incumbents lost. The most tragic defeat was Megan Leslie in Halifax, whose passion and knowledge of environmental issues rivals Elizabeth May. That’s a huge loss.
After last night’s election results, it is time to finally declare that strategic voting is a miserable failure and the real problem is our voting system. LeadNow got the election result it wanted (the Conservatives lost) but not by looking at polling data and giving recommendations in each riding. Their nuanced local strategy was overwhelmed by the national numbers as progressive voters flocked to the Liberals for change, regardless of the local polling data. Ironically, the message on the LeadNow website is: “In 2011, a majority of people voted for a change in government, but our broken voting system gave the Harper Conservatives 100% of the power with just 39% of the vote.” The result in 2015, 39% of voters have given the Liberals 100% of the power. Is that any better?
I didn’t vote Liberal, but not because I disagree with their platform. The Liberal, NDP, and Green platforms are very similar and I like them all. I didn’t vote Liberal because I worry that they don’t have the courage to follow through with their promises. I hope Justin Trudeau proves me wrong, and it is up to progressive voters to ensure he does. I’ll be specifically watching to see that they follow through with these three promises:
Electoral Reform – The Liberals have promised that “2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system”, with an an all-party Parliamentary committee recommending a replacement by May 2017. Following through on this will forever change the Canadian political landscape, for the better.
Climate Change Action – The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris is only 6 weeks away. The Liberals pledges here will be an indication on how seriously they take climate change.
Marijuana Legalization – I’ve never smoked pot and probably never will, even if it is legal. That said, legalizing and taxing marijuana is smart, bold policy and I hope the Liberals follow through.