Strategic Voting isn't a Strategy at all | Unpublished

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Andrew West - Kanata-Carleton Greens's picture
Ottawa, Ontario
About the author

Andrew West is the Green Party Candidate in Kanata-Carleton, a graduate of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and the Attorney General Critic for the Green Party of Ontario. His law degree includes a specialization in Environmental Law with extensive training in resolving disputes.

The Kanata-Carelton Green Party serves Kanata North (City of Ottawa Ward 4), Kanata South (Ward 23) or West Carleton (Ward 5).

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Strategic Voting isn't a Strategy at all

October 16, 2015

Strategic voting has become a hot topic in this election, particularly in some Ottawa ridings. This is where you vote for the candidate you think has the best shot of defeating another candidate. In my riding of Kanata—Carleton, the perception is that voting for the Liberal will oust the Conservatives.

But this is not actually a strategy; it’s a tactic. A strategy has a plan for what comes next, after the election. Tactical voting is a single action; saying any outcome is better than the status quo. Historically in Canada, the actual strategy of voting has been to just vote Liberal to get rid of the Conservatives, and then vote Conservative to get rid of the Liberals. Nothing really changes.

I recently talked to volunteers of the strategic voting group in Kanata—Carleton and told them my thoughts in no uncertain terms. But their biggest argument in response: “We’ve got to get rid Steven Harper.” And people believe what they’re saying. I hear all the time “I really like you. I really like Elizabeth May. But I’m voting Liberal.” Is this where we’re at with Canadian politics? Voting someone out, not voting someone in? I want us to vote for the right person, not the lesser of two evils.

Another justification for voting strategically is that some Liberals are saying they want to get rid of First Past the Post. Well, the best way to guarantee voting reform is a critical mass of Green MP’s that will hold the government’s feet to the fire. Don’t be scared into voting a certain way. You may be ousting one rotten government for a slightly less offensive one. That’s not what our veterans and fallen soldiers fought for; nor is it the legacy we want to leave.

And then there’s the fact the strategic voting recommendation is based on a tiny and skewed pool of data. Their polls robocalled only around 600 voters out of over 79,000. That’s all. And this sums up what might be the biggest democratic problem we have in Canada; letting a minority speak for or influence the majority. If everyone who wanted to vote Green actually DID vote Green, we would win and probably by a lot!

No vote is wasted.  Every vote sends a message. It tells all the parties what matters to you and what your principles are. We live in a great country. We’re going to be okay. Please relax, vote for whomever you really want, and our situation will naturally improve when the best candidates win.

Andrew West and The Kanata-Carleton Election Team