Whatever your reason may be for seeking political change -- a desire for change at the Federal level or here in Peterborough Riding -- according to election analysts (see links below), there is only one candidate who has the potential to defeat our Conservative Member of Parliament Dean Del Mastro on election night. That candidate is Betsy McGregor, the federal Liberal Candidate for Peterborough Riding.
Before we go any further, let me state that I think that any of the three progressive candidates running in Peterborough county would make an excellent Member of Parliament: Emily Berrigan (Green Party of Canada), Betsy McGregor (Liberal), or Steve Sharpe (NDP). The problem is that if we split the approximately 65% of the vote that will likely go to the three progressive parties in our riding, Dean Del Mastro will win because he will receive approximately 35% of the vote. It's a dilemma that Canadians across our country are grappling with at the riding level: how to prevent the very non-mainstream minority from holding on to control of our country and carrying out an agenda that is anti-progressive and (many of us would argue) anti-Canadian as well. (Read my reasons for launching this blog in December 2006 and you'll see that I've been deeply concerned about this government, our MP, and Canada for a very long time.) This is where strategic voting comes into play.
Making the decision to vote strategically may be something entirely new to you, particularly if you have a long association with or a passionate commitment to a particular party. (You may want to read tonight's Peterborough Examiner to find out why peace activist and much-loved former physician Joyce Barrett -- a long-time NDP supporter -- has chosen to vote strategically in this election and rally behind Betsy McGregor. "I wept when Dean (Del Mastro) was elected in 2006," she told The Examiner.")
The idea of strategic voting is certainly something alien for me, too. Or it was until I started listening in on the thoughtful discussions of everyday Canadians like you and me and hearing how passionate they were about preventing a Conservative majority government -- and of allowing themselves to dream of a time when we might actually have a progressive government in power in Canada again.
Uniting the left is the only way to begin the process of unseating the Harper government. By going after the Conservatives in those ridings where they are most vulnerable -- in ridings like Peterborough where the race is going to be close -- we have a chance to end up with one more progressive voice on Parliament Hill. That person will not be a voice for any one party. That person will be a voice for all people in our riding who hope for a more progressive future for this riding.
As Liberal Party MP Michael Ignatieff stated earlier this week:
"What separates us from the Conservatives is that we believe you can’t have an efficient economy without a just society.
"A just society — where every citizen is equal; where we succeed
together, because we look after each other; where no Canadian goes to
the wall when times are tough; where no Canadian has to walk the lonely
road of poverty or ill health alone.
"A market economy demands a just and equal society. You can’t have an
efficient economy, without a just and equal society. This is the key
idea behind Canadian liberalism [and progressive Canadians in general, I would argue.]
"That’s not Harper’s Canada."
And speaking of inspiring politicians, here's what Elizabeth May had to say on the subject of strategic voting a few days ago:
The Green, Liberal and New Democratic parties should prevent
vote-splitting that would favour Conservatives, and carve up electoral
ridings according to who has the best chance of winning, May said. "We
sit down and say, `Who has the best chance of winning in all these
ridings?' What I've been calling for is proportional representation by
Here are some resources you may wish to consult as you begin to consider whether voting strategically is the right move for you. I will continue to add to this list during the days ahead. You may also wish to use the voting tool in the upper-right hand corner of this blog. It tells you which candidate is considered Peterborough Riding's best bet for electing a progressive candidate.
Note: The tool is updated on a continuous basis as polling data changes.
Strategic voting resources and tools:
DemocraticSPACE: Strategic Voting Guide
Backgrounder 7: Strategic Voting