(To my non-Canadian readers: I hope this is a worthy post on the nature of electoral politics, regardless of your country of origin, if I am wrong please forgive me).
In a democracy one not only has the right to vote one's conscience privately but also the right to air your reasons for that choice publicly. In respect for that spirit of free speech, I want to explain why I believe my vote, and the vote of each of my fellow Canadians, has never mattered more then it does on May 2nd 2011.
On that fateful day we can choose to support Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his utter contempt for democracy or we can vote strategically, so as not allow this bully any more power then we have already mistakenly given him.
Harper's Conservative party, like George W. Bush and Karl Rove, have sought to use wedge issues to rile their base while employing well-funded slander to intimidate their opponents. It's a pure divide-and-conquer strategy, and that's not just political rhetoric - it's actually the entire basis of their campaign thus far. Stephen Harper has been candid that one of his goals is to wipe out the avowedly-centrist Liberal Party, in order to assure his party's long-term dominance. To that end, he is willing to spend more lavishly then any so-called "tax-and-spend liberal" on fighter jets, corporate tax cuts and, of course, prisons. Yes, just like the former Bush administration, Canada will greet a falling crime rate with open cell doors. We never learn from our neighbours' mistakes it seems.
But each Canadian has a stark choice of which party will actually benefit from their vote. I will vote Liberal, not just to defeat the hyper-partisan, gaffe-prone Sarah Palin wannabe named Shelly Glover who has ill-represented Saint Boniface but because I know Raymond Simard, a workmanlike but dedicated and honourable former MP, has the best shot of wining the seat back from Glover's Conservatives. (The New Democratic Party, our more left wing party, is almost invisible in my area.)
I urge you to vote for the candidate in your riding with the best shot of stopping the Harperization of our country. The sudden surge of the NDP's poll numbers actually gives the Conservatives a BETTER shot at splitting the vote and getting an increased minority in parliament or even a majority - with LESS actual votes! In this situation, absolutely every vote is crucial vote.
PLEASE CONSIDER VISITING CATCH 22 TO SEE WHERE YOUR VOTE WILL BE MOST USEFUL!
Remember, Ralph Nader gave the world George Bush, and we all suffered accordingly. Strategic voting shows respect for the democratic process and all of its intricacies. So Canadians, on Monday May 2nd, please don't let contempt carry the day.
Support the alternatives!
New Democratic Party