Anybody But Haprer
I'm not going to be voting for the New Democrat Party (NDP) of Canada on Monday May 2 2011 in Canada's Federal election. That may not sound like much of an earth shattering announcement to most of you, but to me its a mark of just how dire I consider the circumstances facing our country. It's also an indication of how low the NDP and its leadership have fallen in my estimation. To start you need to understand something about me and my family. In every election since I turned 18 I've voted NDP, whether they've had a chance of winning the riding I was in or not. Until now they've at least always represented the moral high ground and I could believe they stood for many of the same things I believed in.
Of course there was also my family's history of affiliation with both the party and its predecessor, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). Back in the 1950s before he went to law school my father was national press secretary for the CCF. His mother was a delegate at the 1961 party convention which saw them change their name to the NDP and both my parents were friends with Stephen Lewis, son of former federal NDP party leader David Lewis, former leader of the Ontario provincial party, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations and now a leading advocate for AIDS sufferers in Africa.
So you could say the NDP are in my blood and you wouldn't be too far off. But this election I'm not voting for them, I'm going to be voting for the local Liberal candidate. The funny thing is it wasn't even that hard a decision to make. First of all is the fact that the current leader of the NDP, Jack Layton, has proven to be the worst sort of political whore, willing to promise anything to anyone in order to gain power. This was rammed home forcibly during the French language leaders debate which most of English Canada ignored. During the debate he shamelessly appealed to Quebecois nationalist voters by promising to reopen constitutional talks. The last thing this country needs is to open that can of worms again, but there he was swearing to put us through that shit again in a blatant attempt to garner votes in a province where his party has only ever won a single seat federally.
Aside from his bullshit though the real issue at stake is whether or not I want to be a contributor to helping Steven Harper and his Conservative Party of Canada win a majority in the House of Commons this election. Since he won his first election he has always had the threat of being voted down in the House by the opposition restraining him from carrying out the worst excesses of his party's platform. Items such as privatizing prisons, enforcing mandatory sentencing laws for drug offences, closing down treatment facilities for drug users like Insite, the safe injection site in Vancouver, trying to ban gay marriages, and encouraging discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, and race through his "Freedom Of Religion" act which would allow people to claim their religion prevents them serving or working with people because of their sexuality etc., have all been put on the back burner until he knows nobody can stop him.
So this election I'm voting for anybody but Harper, which means targeted voting, and anybody who is serious about wanting to ensure he doesn't get the majority he so desperately covets, will swallow the same bullet. Targeted voting means looking at your local riding and figuring out which of the opposition candidates has the best chance of winning and voting for him. If you think the NDP can win vote for them, if you think it's the Liberal candidate who stands the best chance, vote for him or her. The last thing we want happening is to split the vote and let the Conservatives win extra seats. The most dangerous part of Jack Layton's continued popularity is the fact he is stealing votes away from the Liberal party and increasing the chances of the Conservatives winning seats.
Layton has gone on record as saying he doesn't see the point in targeted voting, proving that he cares more about his own political ambitions than he does about the welfare of Canada. Who the fuck cares if the NDP get a higher percentage of the popular vote in this election if it translates into a Conservative majority government? I do, because I'm going to have to live in Canada for the next five years under a government who was the first government in the history of our country to be found in contempt of parliament, who rather than face a possible non-confidence vote suspended parliament, who have routinely withheld information from both the people and parliament on the grounds we're not smart enough to understand it and can't be trusted to make up our own minds, who have flagrantly broken election spending laws secure in the knowledge that there really isn't anything that can be done to punish them, and have done their best to not talk to Canadians at all about anything if they don't have to.
In this current election campaign no Conservative Party candidate has been allowed to answer direct questions from the press and is not allowed to deviate from prepared answers and speeches that have been issued by the Prime Minister's Office. The premise is if they don't say anything, if they don't let people know what they really believe in, we might forget everything they really stand for. Remember this is the same party who promised to hold a new vote about the issue of gay marriage even though they knew full well the federal government has no control over the issue and the Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled that preventing them is a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Liberties. They are so cynical though that they would force through this type of legislation because it appeals to all the right wing bigots who form the back bone of their support and have since they were the Reform Party of Canada.
On May 2nd 2011 the choice is clear, in whatever riding you live in vote for the candidate most likely to defeat the Conservative Party of Canada candidate. This is not an election to vote for the Green party because you think they say some nice things. The NDP might be riding high in the polls right now, but ask yourself how many seats will that really translate into and where are they siphoning votes from? You can bet those votes aren't coming from Conservative voters having some radical change of heart. Maybe in Quebec they're taking some votes from the nationalist Bloc Quebecois party, but who is that going to help win seats? The NDP have only ever won one seat in that province and taking votes from the Bloc is only going to help the Conservatives. Only vote NDP if you think they're going to win the seat, otherwise vote Bloc or vote Liberal.
We must stop Steven Harper from gaining a majority government.