Strategic Voting And The Canadian Federal Election: Not Good For The Green Party

sierra club report card

Sierra Club's Environmental Report Card

The Star's Catherine Porter distills down the case for any Canadian who cares about the environment: "The only thing worse for the environment than a Harper minority is a Harper majority." A majority is what Prime Minister Harper is gunning for, and there is a lot of concern about what will happen if he gets it; It is like Obama having the House and the Senate again, but in Canada, Members of Parliament do what they are told or they are thrown under the bus.
elizabeth may green party photo

Image Credit Shaun Merritt, Creative Commons Elizabeth May of the Green Party at a Gay Pride Parade

Porter notes that the Conservative Party's platform deserved it's F, and writes:

Clearly, if the dangers of climate change concern you (which they should), you have to vote for someone else. But whom?

The Green party's platform is by far the best. But most environmentalists I know are pragmatic. They hope to see one Green seat in the House of Commons, not 308. Most say the differences between the Liberal and NDP platforms are so marginal that a vote for either would be the same.

She is advocating what's called "strategic voting"- voting for what ever candidate has the best chance of knocking off a Conservative member. (In Canada, which ever party has the most members usually forms the government). She points to websites like Project Democracy, which makes suggestions on a riding by riding basis on who has the best chance of pulling it off.


screen shot, Project Democracy

I checked it out where I live and it gets it pretty much right; the Liberal or the NDP is going to get it, so vote your preference. But it doesn't take into account that the Liberal sitting member has barely shown up for work in years, and that the NDP candidate is a prize. I would have preferred a more sophisticated analysis of the candidates. But in the end, I concur with Catherine Porter's conclusion:

If I lived in a vulnerable riding, I'd tick whatever box had the best chance of blocking a Tory majority with ruthless determination.

My children's future is at stake.

This does not bode well for the Green Party, but that is the way it is.

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