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82 posts from September 2008

September 30, 2008

Strategic Voting in Peterborough Riding

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 other means."

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:

www.anyonebutharper.ca

www.voteforenvironment.ca

www.departmentofculture.ca

DemocraticSPACE: Strategic Voting Guide

Backgrounder 7: Strategic Voting

Take Down the Cell Tower Citizens' Action Group: Info Gathering Sun. Oct. 5th

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A group of citizens affected by the cell tower installed at 42 Lansdowne Street West is holding an information gathering on Sunday, October 5th from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm -- in front of the cell tower -- to ask all federal election candidates to pledge their support as the group begins their quest to have the cell phone tower removed from their back yards.

(Please download news releases below for full story.)

Download .pdf

Download .doc

Related:
MyKawartha.com: Over the Back Fence
Peterborough Politics

Kudos to Elizabeth May and Emily Berrigan

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I hope Elizabeth May repeats this during the leadership debate. Talk about rocking the political establishment in a very public way.

And as for other fabulous and feisty women of the Green persuasion, I have been loving what Peterborough Green Party candidate Emily Berrigan has been saying about Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro. She totally gets what he stands for -- and doesn't stand for. (Despite what Del Mastro's signs say, he doesn't stand for anything resembling my Canada. How about yours?)

Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough Riding) Voted Against....

Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough Riding) voted against....

...journalists having the right to protect their sources -- a fundamental aspect of freedom of the press

...the mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods (something that benefits big business, but not the consumer)

...a more detailed warning label on alcoholic beverages -- a bill designed to prevent alcohol-related accidents and injuries as well as birth defects

Find out what else Dean Del Mastro voted for and against by checking out his voting record.

Some Much Overdue Political Levity

A roundup of fun political links.

Here's an early-afternoon addition to the justice story, by way of Far and Wide: pay attention to what's on your website -- particularly when the gavels start flying.

September 29, 2008

Del Mastro - McCain '08

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Spotted on a lawn in Peterborough, Ontario, this afternoon.

Rekindling the Dream of A Just Society

"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.

"That’s not Harper’s Canada.

"That’s a Liberal Canada."

- Michael Ignatieff, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Member of Parliament Etobicoke-Lakeshore, If Harper Succeeds You Will Wake Up in a Canada You No Longer Recognize, from his speech to the Economic Club of Toronto earlier today.

Thanks to those Progressive-Bloggers who tipped me off to this speech. It's extremely inspiring.

Can You Draw a Man in a Blue Sweater Holding a Pair of Scissors?

Did you hear the big news? Harper is picking up the tab for crayons.

The Department of Culture will be so relieved.

My Letter to Friends of Canadian Broadcasting

I just sent the following letter to Friends of Canadian Broadcasting:

Dear Friends:

I'm quite dismayed that CBC.ca reversed its initial decision to back columnist Heather Mallick regarding her controversial column about Sarah Palin.

Does this mean that only non-controversial opinions will be welcomed at the CBC?

If so, what's the point of having a CBC?

The CBC is supposed to be the voice of all Canadians -- not just ones whose opinions are endorsed by the far-right.

Could Friends please investigate and report back to its members about what led to the reversal decision, whether there was any external pressure from government funders to go this route, and whether we are likely to see more of this kind of columnist censorship from the CBC in the future?

Thank you.

Ann Douglas

You Don't Even Have to Read Between the Lines: Just Read

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I want to reiterate what Impolitical states rather brilliantly at the end of her latest post.

The media are doing anything and everything they can to get the electorate to pay attention, short of writing their stories in 72-point font, pay-attention-dammit, maple-leaf-red block letters.

Here's how she puts it.

"The Canadian Press is writing these things for a reason. The people speaking to them are providing them with the basis for saying so. It is an ongoing huge red flag to us all about the Conservative government's views on free speech and the public's right to know what is going on inside their government."