Monday, October 13, 2008

Nothing "strategic" about strategically voting in the wrong candidates!

The flavour of the day in this federal election campaign is "strategic voting" - with the implied presumption that voting for the candidate you think is best for your riding and most close to your beliefs is somehow NOT strategic.

I find this regressive and disturbing for a lot of reasons.

First - elections are about making value decisions, choosing the candidate who you personally feel is best.

It is not about betting on the horse you think will most likely win so you make some money at the track.

Second - if you don't think there are any substantial differences between the federal parties in this election, either you haven't done your homework or you really only care about a single issue or very narrow range of issues.

Case in point - I live in Vancouver Quadra. Joyce Murray is the Liberal MP as of the recent by-election and is again running in a close race against Deborah Meredith of the Conservatives. The NDP candidate is David Caplan, who replaced Kirk Tousaw - the former Marijuana Party activist. The Green Party candidate is Dan Grice.

According to one of the major strategic voting websites - Vote For Environment - I should vote for Joyce Murray:

"Vote splitting could elect a Tory in this riding and so we recommend voting for the incumbent, Liberal Joyce Murray."

But Joyce Murray has a terrible record on the environment.

Murray was the "environment" minister in BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell's government when fish farms were radically expanded, the ministry cut wildlife protection by 25%, stopped publishing the names of corporate polluters and took a number of other extremely regressive actions detrimental to the environment - including even dropping the name "environment" for that ministry!

Why on earth would I vote for Joyce Murray to save the earth?

I could also argue that the federal Liberals did nothing when in power to implement the Kyoto Accord or deal with species at risk or force Victoria to stop dumping raw sewage into the ocean etc, etc.

This illustrates the fallacy of "strategic voting".

Third - strategic voting deprives the party you would otherwise support of considerable federal funding - about $1.81 per vote per year. If tens of thousands of voters cast their ballot for a party they don't really want to support but have been "strategically" pressured towards, the party of their true interests faces a significant financial hit - and makes it even less likely that they can compete fairly in the next election.

Lastly - it's pretty obvious that the federal Liberal Party has the most to gain from "strategic voting" to block Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, which happens to help maintain a two-dominant-party system. If you truly support the Liberals, good for you, but if not - don't sell your beliefs out of fear.

A Facebook group has been started to oppose strategic voting.


tinaz said...

I agree with you Bill regarding this nonsense of strategic voting. People seem to believe that having a minority government does not give the elected government the power to make new laws and people seem to believe that the MP elected in their community will go to bat for them. However, for example, in the case of the softwood lumber dispute, it was reported in the newspaper that the Harper Government, with the help of the liberals, wittingly participated with money laundering. Part of the deal was Canada would help the United States launder the money handed over to them.

There is also the fact that there are no solid candidates to vote for and therefore Canadians are voting only for their district and not for the leadership of the government. This to me indicates a serious problem of confidence in our elected officials, whether federal or provincial.

Brenton said...

Do you really think Joyce Murray made those decisions about the Environment ministry?* I've heard that the Premier at the time was a little controlling...

*I am friends with her sons, so am not completely unbiased on this.

Anonymous said...

A very thoughtful perspective on this issue. I can't think of an election that has caused me more angst than this one. Maybe that's a sign of getting old. I really do wonder what Canada's future will look like and I feel like I have very little influence over that future.

Anonymous said...

Joyce Murray was incompetent as a King Gordon yes person. She won by a handfull of votes. Time to dump her and vote NDP in that riding.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how back to back posts are on Liberal candidates that the Grits sent out to battle and I returned them in body bags...

Case in point: Joyce Murray is the single most unqualified person to run anywhere in this country, save and except for Justin Trudeau.

I exposed Joyce some time ago on national television, and her response was to call me a liar...well, let's review the fact and see who is really the liar...

In 2001, a freshly minted Minister of Earth, Wind and Fire, had oversight of the announcement by the chief forester of B.C.: time to log the Quesnel supply (all old growth). This, after 70% of all old growth was gone on the Island and almost 40% throughout B.C. The excuse: the pine beetle. The problem: the pine beetle is a NATURAL PHENOMENON in that type of log, and, thus, part of the natural evolution of that type of forest. Suzuki, Sierra, all were up in arms. Joyce Murray sat on her hands, didn't say a word, regardless of what the Preem may or may not have offered up behind the scenes.

When I confronted Joyce about it, she claimed that it never happened.

But after the crapkicking she recd from your truly, on the way down the elevator after the show, with two witnesses (producers) present, she said: "I suppose you wanted us to just shut down the forest industry in the province" (!!!!!!!!!!!)

Now, dial back to the first few lines of her Master's thesis at SFU: "(Carbon emissions) greenhouse gases made and a chief cause is DEFORESTATION (emphasis added)"

Deforestation for those of you still confused by the strategic voting idiots (well done Tieleman for telling it like it is, again) is LOGGING.

So, the question is: Which Joyce Murray is an environmentalist, the one that wrote nonsense and eco-lather in her thesis, or the one who allowed the very cause of GHG emissions she rails against to happen while she was B.C. Minister of the Environment????????

Sorry, who was lying, Joyce?

Anonymous said...

Approved by the Financial Agent for Kevin Grandia

You mean this Kevin Grandia, the one associated with the Liberal party?

'From one sinking ship to another
Concerned citizens have informed us that provincial government event coordinator Kevin Grandia, a former ministerial assistant who has a reputation for being the public affairs bureau's "event guru," is abandoning his disciples. Mr. Grandia has been responsible for managing many of Premier Gordon Campbell's centre-stage announcements. He also reportedly has a good working relationship with the premier's deputy chief of staff Lara Dauphinee and was expected to play a prominent role in the upcoming election (which, by the looks of it, is already underway). But apparently that promise/threat wasn't enough to keep Mr. Grandia, once and current Richmond MP Raymond Chan's former constituency assistant, from breaking chief of staff Martyn Brown's heart and going back to work for his old boss. According to federal Liberals, Mr. Grandia is likely gunning for a job in the ministers' regional office in Vancouver.

Posted by Sean Holman at 11:37 AM
Permanent link

Anonymous said...

The only strategy that needs to be considered is who will liquidate Dion and his failed Martinite apparatchiks ?

One way or another by March 15th things will be different in the Liberal Party of Canada.


Brenton said...

"Joyce Murray was incompetent as a King Gordon yes person."
I can't really speak to this as I hadn't even heard of her until after she was out of cabinet, but (again) my feeling is that most of the party were given very little leeway in how they could act.

"She won by a handfull of votes."
In a by-election with a very low voter turn-out. I have a feeling that the Liberal vote will show up tomorrow.

"Time to dump her and vote NDP in that riding."
If you subscribe to Bill's idea, then yes. If you are more concerned with the government that is formed tomorrow than with long-term goals a vote for her might not be the worst thing to do.

Anonymous said...

The Dion-Liberal strategy from day one has been to make Stephen Harperseem so scary that progeressive voters willing to vote for just about anyone, including recycled Campbell Liberals,i.e.Joyce Murray, Brenda Locke, or third rate party hacks, i.e. Bill Cunningham, Gerry Lenoski, in their desparation to stop Harper. If you look at the type of candidates the Liberals are asking progressive voters to support, those candidates are themselves "Right of Centre" and fit in the Tory fold every bit as well as David Emerson did. Progressive voters should not let themselves get fooled again. There is nothing strategic about electing "Right of Centre" Liberals who are no less scary than Harper and his Conservatives!

Dan Grice said...


I think we actually agree on something :-)

Anonymous said...

Of course, people wouldn't be forced to consider "strategic voting" if we had a system with better proportional representation - but Bill likes his first-past-the-post!

(And no, I'm not for STV, but surely any of the mixed-member proportional systems would be better than these crazy results we got yesterday).

Anonymous said...

Anyone that subscribes to the theory of 'strategic voting' is abdicating their personal responsibility. Period.

All this nonsense is nothing more than the next ploy to get people to vote a certain way.

Ps Bill - you left of protest voting. Remember Bob Rae!