VoteSmart Nanaimo fired off a news release last week promoting a new web site that ‘ramps up voter information’ on how to vote strategically in the Oct. 19 federal election.
The goal is to have voters cast their ballots ‘strategically’ by looking at the trend-lines in some 72 ‘swing ridings’ across Canada where the centre-left block of votes is split between the NDP, Liberals and Greens, and where the Conservatives, who are the sole occupants of the right of center terrain might win simply because conservative voters from the centre out to the farthest fringe don’t have any choices.
“Under Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system there is a real possibility that in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, votes divided among the NDP, Liberals and Greens, could cancel each other out and allow the Conservatives to win the riding with only minority support,” says the VoteSmart release.
This strategy is justified, they say, because, “While members of VoteSmart have their own political leanings, they are united by concerns of what another four years of Conservative government will do to Nanaimo, and to Canada.”
They would perhaps gain more support if they changed the message of their campaign with a view to avoiding the need for strategic voting in future elections. What if – instead of targeting only the Tories – they shunned any party that is not prepared to implement electoral and parliamentary reform during the next Parliament.
Shouldn’t the VoteSmart advice be: Only vote for a candidate and party in your riding that commits to implementing electoral and parliamentary reform before the next federal election after Oct. 19.
If a majority of Canadians took that pledge how long would it take to devise a political system that truly reflects the will of the electorate?