Tag Archives: strategic voting

Good Bye Harper; Hello Trudeau

Trudeau Bat Flip - Chronicle Herald Editorial
Mission accomplished. Stephen Harper is gone. Now it is time to repair the damage he’s done to this country.

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.

Canadian Election Results 2015
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.

Why I’m Voting NDP

Untitled

Advance polls open this weekend and I’m ready to cast my ballot for the NDP. There’s a number of reasons why.

  1. I hate strategic voting – it encourages the media to focus on polls instead of platforms and politicians to take boring, centrist positions. I want to be able to vote Green because I agree with their ideas without fear I’m wasting my vote. The NDP is committed to bringing in proportional representation before the next election, which will ensure the Conservatives never again get a majority with 38% of the vote.
  2. Climate change action – next to the Green Party, the NDP has the best environmental platform. With MPs like Tom Mulcair, Megan Leslie, Nathan Cullen, and Linda Duncan, you won’t find a more dedicated core of environmentalists in any other party. I trust them to take action more than the Liberals, who have a horribly vague plan and a history of not delivering. They signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 but did nothing to reduce GHG emissions. I want real action.
  3. Progressive policies – I like the NDPs promises to fund public transit, affordable childcare, a national pharmacare program, and interest-free student loans.
  4. Principled leadership – You can count on the NDP to make the right choice even when it’s not popular. They opposed Bill C-51 when it was still popular, and they’ve rallied against the Conservatives racist policies targeting Muslims, even though it appear to be hurting them in the polls. I appreciate a leader who stands up for what he believes in.
  5. Great local candidate – The NDP candidate in Vancouver Centre is former Parks Board trustee Constance Barnes. She’s an avid cyclist and passionate about urban issues. My current MP is Hedy Fry, who I can’t stand.
  6. I want real change – If Canada ever had a chance to break out of the Liberal-Conservative cycle and try something new, this election is it.

There are a few things I like about the Liberal platform. I agree with increased infrastructure funding, especially for public transit. I agree that marijuana should be legalized. And the Liberals have committed to bringing in electoral reform, although they’re vague on the details and I wouldn’t be surprised if they renege on that promise if they win. I just don’t trust the Liberals to deliver, and it bothers me that Justin Trudeau is leader solely because of who is father was. That’s how George W. Bush became President, and we know how that turned out.

Strategic Voting – #hashtagfail

Strategic voting sites were all the rage this election. Websites like Project Democracy used advanced seat projection models and the latest polls to determine what ridings would be close and how progressive voters should ‘strategically vote’ to stop the Conservatives.

What an utter failure (or ‘hashtagfail’ as my buddy Jack would say). Pundits Guide warned us that Conservatives love strategic voting sites, but few people listened. The promise of having your vote count in a system where so many votes are wasted was too strong to resist.

If you look at the closest races in Canada involving the Conservatives, all of them decided by less 2% of the votes cast, the ‘strategic’ recommendations were horrible. In the 10 races where strategic voting could have been effective, Project Democracy got 5 of them wrong, and the Conservatives won all five of those ridings.

Riding Result PD Strategy Verdict
Montmagny – L’Islet – Kamouraska – Rivière-du-Loup Cons +1101 +10 over NDP Vote Bloc FAIL
Nipissing – Timiskaming Cons +14 over Libs Vote Liberal PASS
Etobicoke Centre Cons +25 over Libs Safe Liberal Seat – Vote Anyone FAIL
Yukon Cons +132 over Libs Vote Liberal PASS
Elmwood Transcona Cons +284 over NDP Safe NDP Seat – Vote Anyone FAIL
Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca NDP +406 over Cons Vote NDP PASS
Bramalea – Gore – Malton Cons +538 over NDP Vote Liberal FAIL
Don Valley West Cons +639 over Libs Vote Liberal PASS
Mississauga East – Cooksville Cons +661 over Libs Safe Liberal Seat – Vote Anyone FAIL
Lotbinière – Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Cons +777 over NDP Vote NDP PASS

1 – vote difference in Montmagny reduced to 10 after counting error detected.

Unfortunately, in a first-past-the-post voting system, only 2 parties can be viable alternatives. Strategic voting is a failed coping mechanism. We need to either change the voting system or get ready for polarized American-style politics with the Conservatives battling the NDP across Canada. Even as an NDP supporter, it’s not a prospect I’m looking forward to. I’d rather have more choices.