Why strategic voting isn’t the best strategy

I don’t blame you for flirting with the idea of voting for the Liberal Party if you actually support the NDP. I don’t blame you for your well intentioned effort to beef up the odds against a Conservative majority government.

It’s not your fault, one of the inherent flaws in our electoral system is that it encourages strategic voting. It has pressured many voters into voting for the perceived lesser of two evils at the expense of their first choice. But I urge you to be strong against the seductive powers of strategic voting. This election, vote first with your heart and then with your head.

If you support the NDP like I do, or any other party, do not to donate your vote to a party that has and will continue to compromise your values. On May 2nd, your vote is your voice and it’s as close as many of us may ever get to making ourselves heard.

Let’s get one thing straight. There is no such this as a ‘throw away’ vote. Even if you think that the NDP candidate in your riding has zero chance of winning. Electoral history indicates that it is possible for party popularity in a given riding to jump around from year to year.

I caution you on basing your vote primarily on the results of the last election. Just because somebody voted Liberal in the last election does not sign-seal-and-deliver their vote straight to the Liberal party this time. And even if it did, your vote still counts in many other ways.

This is not to say that the results of this election do not stand independent of the achievements of the last. The New Democrats wouldn’t be where they are today if it weren’t for successes in previous elections. The support acquired during this election will have a profound influence on the results of the next.

One thing many of the other parties have on the NDP is money and lots of it. But your vote can help change that. The primary method of government funding for political parties in Canada is per-vote subsidy. This entitles any party that garners more than two percent of the popular vote to about $2 a year in government funding per vote received.

And don’t forget, the more NDP Members of Parliament there are, the greater influence the party will have in the House of Commons. The more NDP MP’s in the House, the more people there will be fighting for you, your family and your fellow Canadians. Your vote does count a just and sustainable Canadian society won’t be built in a day.

Our electoral system is far from perfect and is in need of revision, but I urge you to play the game until the party you actually support is in power.

The result of a strategically elected government is this: a government that most people don’t want. Ring a bell? I’m voting NDP because I care about people. Everybody. I want my tax dollars to be spent on helping everyone and not just a few. I want a government that will improve our healthcare system, create jobs and job training, invest in infrastructure, education and other social programs. I want a government that cares about the environment and the arts. A government that will use its powers for good!

I will not not vote for a party that is partly responsible for mass civilian casualties in Afghanistan, even if the media tells me they have the best chance of beating Harper. I want people who are not as lucky as I am to be able to buy diapers for their kids and then eventually be able to send them to university. I do not support a government that punishes people for being born in the wrong neighbourhood or for having the wrong last name.

The NDP and Jack Layton will put you and your family before corporations or kick-backs, the NDP will be there for you. That is why this party exists and that is exactly why it is so crucial that it become the next Government of Canada.

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