Category Archives: strategic voting

Message to Progressives Thinking of Voting "Strategically" and Why the Progressive Vote in Parkdale High Park Should Go To Peggy Nash

Progressives, by which I mean those concerned with issues of a thriving democracy, the environment, and social and economic justice, are once again not being well served in the coming election. Indeed, the middle of political discourse has shifted so far to the right that Rob Ford appears “reasonable” rather than bat shit crazy.

Owing to an outdated and profoundly flawed electoral system, “strategic voting” has reared its ugly head once more. Considering that one of the few strengths of First Past The Post (FPTP) system (i.e. electing a local candidate) is already continually undermined by voters who scarcely consider the merits of their local candidates in their choices, “strategic voting” only contributes further to the dysfunction in our electoral system. Thus, all progressives should at the very least demand electoral and democratic reform from our political parties.

The NDP is running on electoral and Senate reform. The LPC quite predictably is not. Liberal hack, Jason Cherniak, reminded us in 2008, exactly why the LPC is not in favour of electoral reform. What progressive voters need to understand is that the LPC is not progressive.


Regardless, the idea of “strategic voting” to prevent the “diabolical” Stephen Harper from renewing his grip on power is once again circulating. Some points for progressives to consider:

  • Stephen Harper will not lead the next government of Canada. 
    • to do so, the CPC would need to win a majority of the seats
    • as poll numbers are now and will increasingly be showing, a Harper majority is essentially out of reach, and in all likelihood the result will be a Harper minority
    • the opposition will have no choice (unless they are willing to be stupefyingly hypocritical) but to reject any attempt of Harper’s to form a minority government
  • Michael Ignatieff will most likely lead the next government of Canada
    • not only is is the LPC not truly concerned with progressives, but also its leader, despite his attempt to craft an image as a progressive intellectual, really seems much more at home in the neoconservative camp led by Wolfwowitz and co. As for Ignatieff’s mea culpa regarding his support for the U.S. invsion of Iraq see this.
    • In an interview with The Tyee, Linda McQuaig says the following:

“That quote [in Holding the Bully’s Coat] from Ignatieff, where he talks about torture [being defensible] as long as it’s done by a patriotic American, now that’s an interesting quote. That one hasn’t gotten the play that some of the others [have]. That one was from an interview he did with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. That is an incredible statement of the notion of American exceptionalism, the idea that America should be excepted from being bound by international law. And for Ignatieff to come out and endorse that in the way he did is just phenomenal. I find it striking, because he doesn’t talk like that in Canada. You don’t hear him talk like that so much in Parliament…. And yet if you actually look at some of the things he’s said, he’s actually an extraordinary neoconservative. He’s up there with guys like Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith and some of those people in terms of the extremism of his position. And yet this guy’s a prominent politician in Canada”…. 

  •  In the coming parliament, the NDP will likely hold the balance of power. Thus, the more NDP candidates that get elected, the greater will be the leverage for the only party that truly represents progressives.
  • The only thing worse than strategic voting is strategic voting that is highly non strategic. In ridings where the the Conservative candidate has no chance of winning, it is in the interest of progressives to elect NDP candidates. 

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Message to "Strategic Voters" in Parkdale High Park: Vote Peggy Nash

You know that in principle I’m profoundly against strategic voting, which I see as the symptom not the cure for a deeply flawed electoral system. But I guess if there’s one thing worse than “strategic voting” it’s “non strategic strategic voting”.  “Strategic voting” advocates say to vote for Peggy Nash in the riding of Parkdale High Park. 

Wouldn’t want you to vote for the other guy thinking you were voting “strategically”.

p.s. contrary to misinformation that’s out there Elizabeth May is NOT telling Green supporters to vote Liberal.

p.s.s. Even voteforenvironment.ca, a site hopelessly skewed in favour of the Liberals, is recommending that voters of Parkdale High Park vote freely with their hearts. Both Peggy Nash and the other guy are “environmental stars”.

Federal Election 2008: Parkdale High Park

There are numerous ways to break down this tightly contested race between Peggy Nash and Gerard Kennedy. While I believe that we desperately need to reform our electoral system if we want to revitalize our democracy, given what we have to work with, we should first focus on the strengths of the First Past the Post system to mitigate its inherent unfairness. An obvious strength of the FPTP system is that it allows voters to establish a direct and local connection with their elected representatives. In the FPTP system, each voter really is asked to evaluate the candidates running in the riding and choose from among those the one that will best represent and defend his/her interests. For PHP, in a head to head comparison, Peggy Nash is the clear and superior choice for most voters, particularly progressive voters.

Peggy Nash is the incumbent who, with MPP Cheri DiNovo, helps make this one of the best represented ridings I can think of. Peggy Nash has served this riding admirably and her hard work and commitment are unrivaled. Nash has deep roots in the riding, is very well respected and liked, and is well worthy of re-election. She is a bona fide advocate for small business,the arts, workers, and the poor alike. Her life and career prove that. Progressives and anti-poverty activists surely will find their interests better reflected in Peggy Nash.
Gerard Kennedy, on the other hand, may have provincial political experience, but he has never represented the riding at a federal level. He doesn’t live in the riding, nor has he served the riding in any official capacity for well over two years. Although he was quite popular when he served as MPP, it may have been a little presumptuous to expect to return unabated after having abandoned the riding the way he did. Moreover, the title of kingmaker seems to have lost some of the sheen, owing to the fact that Kennedy, by ensuring that Dion would become leader of the LPC, may be seen as partly responsible for the mess in which the Liberal Party currently finds itself. All resulting in what surely looks like an unchallenged road to either a large minority or a small majority government for Stephen Harper.
Still, a perennial flaw of the FPTP system is “strategic voting”. “A vote for the NDP is a vote for Harper” say the Liberals around here. No, a vote for the NDP is a vote for the best candidate AND a vote for the only party that stood consistently and vehemently against Harper. It was in fact the Liberals who essentially allowed the Harper Conservatives to govern as a majority government during the last parliamentary session. It is the Liberals who, because of infighting, backstabbing, holding grudges, choosing the wrong leader and policies, have turned this election into a virtual lock for the Conservatives, with the only race being for Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Thus, if we’re really going to be “strategic” (i.e. vote to attenuate the dangers of a Harper Conservative government), the call across the land actually should be to vote NDP. Who can doubt that Jack Layton and the NDP as official opposition would be more effective against Harper than Dion and the squabbling Liberals? Why reward the Liberals for their incompetency? Why not give Jack Layton and a united NDP caucus the responsibilities attached to the Official Opposition? Liberals and Conservatives are already complicit on some many fronts. Let’s not perpetuate that in our parliament, where the role of opposition is as fundamental as governing.