Wednesday 23 September 2015

Why strategic voting is no strategy at all

For the majority of Canadians hoping to unseat Stephen Harper, there is a temptation to vote ‘strategically’ – which is to say, to pick the riding candidate with the best chance of defeating the Conservative nominee.
Some people never learn

Bad idea.

Strategic voting is often presented as a pragmatic approach, but it makes a few false assumptions.
First, it assumes that Harper represents such a scourge that an Anyone But Harper (ABH) vote will result in a preferred outcome. Outside of Quebec, this would mean that the Liberal, NDP, or even Green vote represent a kind of non-Harper equivalency. But that isn’t the case. Your ABH candidate will be going to Parliament supporting a leader and a specific platform, and if you don’t support the person or the platform, you’re screwed.  

Monday 21 September 2015

Ben Mulroney, anyone? The problem with dynastic politics

The presence of Justin Trudeau represents a disturbing new trend in Canadian politics that risks damaging the long-term viability of our democratic system.
The media makes the man

Whoa! What an overstatement! Isn’t it Stephen Harper, after all, who muzzles scientists, suppresses votes, prorogues Parliament, and passes grotesque omnibus bills? Indeed, Harper is an aggressive politician who, it often seems, would rather run the country like a dictator.

But the dismay and disappointment is in Harper the person. If he is kicked out of office (as he can be), that’s the end of him. He has done lasting damage, but as a person he does not represent a larger cultural transformation in the political landscape.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

In Peterborough-Kawartha, you’re voting for the Prime Minister

Canada is following a familiar pattern. Weary of the ruling party, voters are getting behind an “anyone but Harper” movement that has them thinking of voting strategically for either the NDP or Liberal candidate that has the best chance of winning.
Not the next MP for Peterborough-Kawartha

The result is a lot of second-guessing. In vote-rich Ontario, it has brought a recent bump for the Liberals, Canada’s erstwhile "natural governing party”. Historically, the Liberals have been favoured as the party to which otherwise Conservative and NDP voters might bail.

But this time it’s different. There are three parties, not two. The Liberals are campaigning on deficits, and the NDP has rushed to the middle-ground, promising balanced budgets. Suddenly, voters can’t flick the switch so easily.