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Letter: To vote strategically or to not vote strategically

To The Editor:

In 2011, Stephen Harper convinced Canadians to give him a majority, and look how that turned out.  Harper used - some might say abused - this majority to bring in a vast amount of poorly conceived, highly partisan legislation - including all the omnibus budgets - badly done but rushed through Parliament with severely limited debate and rubber stamped by the Harper Senate. 

Now, during the election,"old stock" Canadians (and I don't think they mean First Nations), the niqab, and the Barbaric Cultural Acts tip-line are raised, with their implicit cultural bias, to stoke fear of others.  Frankly, none of this passes the smell-test of good government on behalf of all Canadians.

Also, we have been done a huge disservice by the Harper Government, which frames issues as lowering taxes, but without regard to the needed services, because they see us purely as taxpayers footing the bill rather than as citizens capable of evaluating trade-offs.  In this campaign, courtesy of the Liberals, this issue is on the table.  

And, as citizens with broader concerns, not simply as taxpayers, we need to speak out. Which, since we don't get to vote directly on Stephen Harper, may involve voting strategically.

Our options:  The Conservative candidate, David Wilks, is clearly a Harper supporter.  The  presumed ABH choice in this riding is the NDP (Wayne Stetski), given the region's and province's voting history. Then there's the Greens (Bill Green), with Elizabeth May's very real contribution to Canada in Ottawa, and some very appealing positions on major issues.

And the Liberals (Don Johnston), who are campaigning on a platform with well thought out, strong, pragmatic, i.e., implementable, policies, which would have positive effects for the country, and which are resonating with voters, so rather than the NDP or the Conservatives it could be the Liberals atop the polls on October 19.

Polls for this riding, however,suggest a dead heat between Wilks and Stetski.  Debates and the local media question-answer series have provided voters with the candidates' positions, but that may not have made our voting decision any easier.  Better informed, yes, and kudos to all for their efforts, but not necessarily easier. 

The dilemma, given the alternatives, boils down to: Whether to (a) vote for a person we like, (b) vote for a Party's platform that is best aligned with our own values, and/or (c) vote strategically -which becomes an easy decision if (a), (b) and (c) coincide - otherwise a devil of a choice.

To vote strategicallyin an effort to end the "Harper Government", or in more positive terms for a return to the "Government of Canada, one needs to vote for the non-Conservative candidate most likely to win in this riding.  (Not only progressives, but also any Progressive Conservatives, might consider doing this.) 

Google Christopher Majka, "The art and science of strategic voting", for more information about how to decide.

It's not everybody's cup of tea, butstrategic voting is a legitimate option

As are coalitions, by the way - if that issue should emerge late in the campaign - but I digress….

Merriene Duncan
Nelson, BC