Canada’s 40th General Election is tomorrow. I’ll be voting Green; here’s why.

The Tories · The Conservative party has been running the country, as a minority government, for the past few years. They’re not very lovable but they’ve been mostly reasonably competent.

On the other hand, they’re awful on environmental issues, they have a sprinkling of Republican clones who’d turn hard-right given the slightest chance, and Prime Minister Harper is a control freak whose Cabinet-level team isn’t that impressive.

In our local riding, they’re irrelevant, there’s no chance a Tory could get elected here. In fact, we’ll represent a net loss for them, since the Liberal we elected last time crossed the floor to join the government.

The Liberals · I kind of like Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, and during their recent convention, I was left with the impression that a Liberal government would have a very strong front bench: Rae, Ignatieff, Dryden, and so on. Plus, their environmental policies are really strong. I think a Liberal government would be a not-bad outcome.

On the other hand, local candidate Wendy Yuan, while polished and accomplished, really doesn’t seem very inspiring.

New Democrats · I’ve voted for the NDP more than for any other party over my lifetime; local candidate Don Davies is perfectly OK, and even has a chance of winning. But NDP leader Jack Layton seriously gets on my nerves, and they’re not as strong environmentally as the Liberals.

Greens · When I’m not panicking about our economic system, I’m 100% convinced that all other issues pale in the face of the very real possibility that we could fuck up our planet beyond the point of livability. Nothing else matters as much. I’m impressed by the Green Party and its leader Elizabeth May, and our local candidate Doug Warkentin isn’t bad either.

It comes down to this: A Tory majority would be awful, but our riding isn’t in danger of being part of that problem, and I just can’t get excited about Wendy. So why not vote the way I really feel?


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Dethe Elza (Oct 13 2008, at 10:44)

That sums up my feelings as well. We're in Vancouver Centre, which has been Liberal (Hedy Fry) for as long as I've lived in Vancouver. Adrienne Carr is our Green candidate, and I think she'd make a great MP.

While I agree that the environment is a key issue, the fact that the Greens oppose the proliferation of war is huge too. Next to the rising threat of nuclear war, even climate change pales in comparison. The difference is that we are 100% certain to have climate change (we're already in it) and it has a large "lag," so the longer we take to act, the worse the outcomes. With nuclear war there is still a chance of avoiding it.

Finally, while the Conservatives tend to be thought of as the financially sound party, they are the ones who have gotten us in the current mess with deregulation and a lack of oversight. The Greens actually are very fiscally conservative and want to put taxes in the right place, on pollution, rather than on income. A green economy could bloom!


From: Chris Hartjes (Oct 13 2008, at 10:47)

The incumbent MP in my riding is Garth Turner, who got booted out from the Conservatives for talking about things he wasn't supposed to. None of the other local candidates inspire me much, but Turner (or more accurately, his assistants) have taken the time to answer not one but *three* emails I have sent to him with thoughtful, not-just-a-canned-response type of answers.

Me, I fear that a Conservative majority will lead to a neo-con agenda being pushed on us. To be honest, I like that the Conservatives are into lower taxes (who wouldn't be) but all the other stuff that goes with being a neo-con is something I don't care for.


From: Prasenjeet (Oct 13 2008, at 10:55)

I'm not sure which way the Canadian Greens tilt, but a lot of European greens appear to be reflexively anti-science and anti-industry. While their political success is something the richer Western European countries can afford, their agenda is an absolute disaster for poorer nations (e.g. Africa will -- from what I hear -- be shafted if it chooses organic over GM, India and China will definitely be shafted if they ignore nuclear given their energy needs.)


From: Swany (Oct 13 2008, at 10:58)

I was also planning to vote for the Greens until our local candidate revealed she believed in Creationism at a public forum. No way I can vote for that.


From: Rob (Oct 13 2008, at 20:11)

Uh, Tim, have you checked out the Green economic platform? It is rather to the right of the PCs on almost every issue. Which isn't surprising if you have been following the last few years of Green Party history. Which is pretty amusing actually, if not exactly confidence inspiring. (Lawsuits all around, anybody?)


From: Ian King (Oct 13 2008, at 23:45)

Excellent analysis, Tim. Liberals have more bench strength than the rest of Parliament combined. One thing that worries me is that with Emerson gone, who's going to handle foreign affairs if the Conservatives do form government? I can't think of anyone in the Conservative caucus with the skills. Liberals seems to get it on what tools to use when dealing with the environment and economy -- it's a shame that no one's been able to distill them into simpler terms.

In Kingsway, Warkentin is more than just OK. He's upfront about his party's weaknesses and ready to help fix them. I have a lot of respect for him. Don Davies is none too bad as New Democrats go, he's actually aware of the disconnect between his party and rank-and-file Canadian workers. Puts him way ahead of a lot of his co-partisans (including Layton!) that way.

At least you have a race to vote in. I'm in Vancouver East, with its NDP MP-for-life Libby Davies; she makes a worse impression on me than her party. How I vote won't affect my riding's outcome, so I'm holding my nose and voting...

(what, anyone thought I'd give an answer?)


From: Hub (Oct 14 2008, at 06:38)

Be careful. Vote splitting my end up benefiting to the conservative once again. Not saying that one shouldn't vote fro who he wants, but it is up to the poin where the conservative MUST be ousted and that mean that vote must go to make sure the conservative opponent gets the seat.

Just my $0.02 from somebody who is concerned but can't vote yet...


From: Ryan Cousineau (Oct 14 2008, at 10:40)

Given that everyone's giving their 2 cents here, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the really really big argument AGAINST strategic voting: campaign funding.

In Canada, the electoral campaigning laws now grant every party (that gets more than 2% of the popular vote) $1.95/voter/year in public money. Given that there are tighter restrictions on other forms of campaign fundraising, this is the core of these parties' budgets, and a fundamental driver of their ability to compete in future elections (you know, right after "having compelling ideas.")

So strategic voting, as a widespread tactic, hurts your preferred party in the next election while hurting your hated party in the immediate election.

Just to give one example, if your preferred party is the NDP, but they are not competitive in your riding, voting Liberal may deny the Conservatives a seat, but it will also fund the Liberals, and de-fund the NDP through the next few years. The Liberals in particular are acutely in need of every dollar right now, as their finances have been brutally tight since the last election (they simply didn't have enough money to match the Conservative campaign this year).

Full disclosure: I will contentedly be voting for a certain right-of-centre party that aligns both my strategic and tactical impulses. Fight amongst yourselves.


From: Matthew Laird (Oct 14 2008, at 10:50)

Hub, this is why we need a system that doesn't cause vote splitting, we need a form of proportional representation at every level of government so people can vote with their hearts.

Tim, that is a fantastic analysis. In one of the two New Westminster ridings out where I am (the opposite to the one I live in, fortunately), a number of my friends are struggling with the voting issue because of our antiquated electoral system.

The race for the riding most of my local friends live in is between the NDP and Tories, and it will be a tight one. Unfortunately the Green candidate is a good friend of ours and a very good fellow. So what do they do, vote for someone they believe in, or keep the Tories out?

What more reason for electoral reform is there? With a PR system there will never be a Tory government again. (and never be a majority government again either, which is a good thing)


From: Ted (Oct 14 2008, at 16:22)

I'd vote for them too except (a) I'm not Canadian and (b) their web site crashed my Safari !


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