12 posts categorized "aboriginal issues"

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

September 25, 2008

Dean Del Mastro Recognized for Outstanding Creativity on the Campaign Trail

Thumbsup Congratulations to Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro for this special recognition from Ottawa. (From Liberal headquarters in Ottawa, that is.)

Dean Del Mastro matches Cheryl Gallant for craziest falsehood on Liberal Green Shift

OTTAWA - Conservative Candidate Dean Del Mastro has managed to match his colleague Cheryl Gallant for the biggest Conservative fabrication of the 2008 election about the Liberal platform; this time, falsely claiming the Liberal Green Shift plan violates First Nations' Treaty rights.

On September 23, 2008, at an all candidates debate at Curve Lake First Nation, Mr. Del Mastro, the Conservative candidate for Peterborough, claimed that the Liberal Green Shift is "the big red hand of Stéphane Dion that's about to reach into your pocket and tear money out of it for everything that First Nations need. That's an end run around your treaty right." (Peterborough Examiner, September 24, 2008)

After two years in Parliament, Mr. Del Mastro may be surprised to learn that Aboriginal treaty rights are a part of Canada's constitution and will always be respected.

Mr. Del Mastro also outrageously dismissed the Kelowna Accord as nothing more than a press release during the debate. "The Kelowna Accord, there is no such thing," Mr. Del Mastro said. Mr. Del Mastro's irresponsible and dismissive comments clearly demonstrate a lack of concern and understanding of Aboriginal issues.

Two weeks ago, it was revealed that Cheryl Gallant, Conservative MP and candidate for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, claimed that the Liberal proposal would "destroy the lives" of many Canadians by "taxing or banning the use of firewood." The false claims were contained in Ms. Gallant's taxpayer-funded
householder that began arriving on he constituents' doorsteps following the start of the election.

Conservatives have yet to confirm growing rumours that they have launched a party-wide competition to see who can come up with the most ludicrous claim to add to their disinformation campaign against the Liberal platform. That said, given the myriad of the false claims they have made to date, it will
likely take weeks to parse through these falsehoods and fabrications to determine a winner....

Related:
Facing Off at Curve Lake: Election Rivals Challenge Del Mastro on Aborginal Issues