Cross-posted, perhaps unwisely, to the BlogsCanada elections blog.
Many of you, my dear readers, have forgotten more about politics than I know. In posting this, I expose not only my own ignorance, but myself to your adroit riposte. I invite criticism and commentary in this, because it will serve to either strengthen or soften my conviction.
To begin, here is why I’m not voting for the other parties:
- Conservatives: With the exception of portions of their fiscal platform, this party’s views differ too radically from mine. In this election, I believe that we’re seeing the left end of this party’s political views. I have not forgotten that half this party used to be Reform, and how distasteful their platform was to me. Finally, Harper and others have been pretty circumspect about their personal beliefs, an important consideration for me in electing a leader.
- Liberals: I voted Liberal in the last two elections. I thought ChrÃ©tien et al were doing a decent enough job. Not perfect, of course, but I generally liked Jean and his party’s politics. However, the Liberals have been in power for 11 years. I don’t think it’s healthy for the nation to have the same party in power for long periods of time. Furthermore, Paul Martin seems like the party leader who is least ready to be Prime Minister. He lacks charisma, isn’t particularly articulate, and gives me the sense that he ought to be VP, Operations of some mid-size Canadian corporation.
- NDP: While I like Layton, the NDP has yet to convince me of the soundness of their fiscal platform. Their checkered history in BC provincial politics hasn’t helped, either. More importantly, I’m anti-union, and have difficulty stomaching the NDP’s close ties with the country’s major unions. I’m closer to voting NDP in this election than ever before, but they haven’t got me yet.
If I were to vote for one of the parties, it would be selecting the least of three evils. I don’t believe in strategic voting–I think democracy works best when you vote with your head and your heart, not your playbook.
Ultimately, I think our political process could use some new blood and fresh ideas. The Green Party offers these. Additionally, the Greens have been gathering momentum for the past few years, and deserve real credit for running a candidate in every riding. Slowly but surely, they seem to be shedding the label of being a one-issue party (maybe they ought to re-brand in the next election?). That said, I’ve supported environmental causes my whole life (it’s my favourite social issue), so it’s easy to back a ‘green’ political party.
I was talking to a Green Party member, and he described them as ‘socially progressive but fiscally conservative’. I like the sound of that combination. I’ve read through their platform, and it seems to back up that statement.
I have no illusions about the Green Party getting into power. Heck, I doubt they’ll elect a single MP. However, in voting for the Green Party (and, hopefully, in writing about my decision here), I help their credibility as a national party with growing influence. I see it as much a vote for future elections as anything. Additionally, they get my $1.75 for funding the next election.