Don't Call My Vote "Wasted"

Posted on Monday, January 23 at 15:05 by nancymarie
I think Stephen Harper will surprise many Canadians by being pretty moderate, especially in the first part of his time as PM. Things don't change much despite all the campaign hype. I can remember being part of the Bill Bennett government that beat the NDP under Dave Barrett in December, 1975. We were all full of piss and vinegar and promises and were committed to root out all the evil we were sure was hidden inside the Parliament Building. We quickly learned that it's far easier to run a province from a neighbourhood pub than the cabinet room. The aftermath will keep us political junkies busy. Not only will we have the new government to look at and take hunks out of, we'll see a Liberal party scrambling to find a new leader who can put the Chretien-Martin loyalists out of business. They must find someone that both factions can support, thus ending the deeply embedded nastiness that so badly split the party. There are several candidates. John Manley, who is about as exciting as a spawned-out salmon, Frank McKenna, the aging wunderkind of the party past and Brian Tobin, who is far too much a federalist to suit voters in Western Canada. 'Wasted' vote? But I'd like to look at another matter I've been hearing a lot about. As I have said, Wendy and I voted Green - without knowing nor caring who the candidate was. This, we're told, is wasting our votes and mocking democracy. Let me make my case. By the standard suggested, every person who has ever voted CCF/NDP since 1933 wasted their vote. These people have known from the first that they weren't going to put anyone into office and there was only a relatively small chance that their favourite would even make the House of Commons - where he would be relegated to "third-party" status. Even more discouraging, even when the NDP attains provincial power, the province rejects them in federal elections. But this massive number of wasted votes hasn't destroyed the party because it operates on principles. Perhaps not your principles nor mine, but principles none the less for that. Supporters of the NDP know that as a political party, in or out of the House of Commons, it can have influence on events. Indeed, sometimes that influence has been substantial. The Green Party is in the same position, but more so. Were it to elect a single member, the victory party would last a week. Although they have fielded candidates across the land, they know that it would take a miracle to elect anyone. Why, then, do they exist? They have principles, one of which, saving the environment, is the at very top of their list and, as it happens, Wendy's and mine. As I write this, I've just read the weekend Globe and Mail which listed the issues as they see them - the environment was #7. In the two English-language debates, there was not one question on the environment. This is, or should be, pretty scary. Investing $1.75 Wendy and I discussed what we were going to do and decided that each of us contributing $1.75 out of federal funds to the Green Party was a hell of a lot better political investment than a vote for any of the fence posts with hair that represented the other parties would be. I am not a member of the Green Party. I've not been a member of any party since I resigned from the Socreds in 1981. I am simply a British Columbian and Canadian who is badly frightened about the environment and the badly blemished inheritance we pass on. If the Green party can afford to take their message across Canada because people like Wendy and I helped them get funding, it seems to me that we have cast very meaningful votes, indeed. http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/01/22/WastedVote/ [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on January 24, 2006]

Note: http://thetyee.ca/Views...

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