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November 28, 2005

Hold nose; mark X

I'd like Stephen Harper to be our next Prime Minister, given (and I cannot stress this proviso enough) the realistic choices, all two of them, currently on offer, but the Conservative candidate in my riding has no chance. And that's not pessimism — it's fact. The Liberal incumbent, Sarmite Bulte, stands a reasonable chance of losing, but if she does lose it's definitely going to be to the NDP candidate. A Conservative vote in Parkdale—High Park is pretty much wasted, as far as I can see, since it squanders a real opportunity to influence the balance of power in the House of Commons.

At first blush it seems like people in my situation should vote NDP, in that fewer seats for the Liberals is a good thing for the Conservatives (to say nothing of the fact that I'd rather support just about anyone, and most anything, than Paul Martin). On the other hand, a seat that switches from Liberal to NDP could end up a wash if Paul Martin and Jack Layton end up swinging some kind of coalition. But if that's the case then it won't much matter who I voted for, right?

Wikipedia's extensive entry about tactical voting quotes Labour MP Anne Begg as follows:

Tactical voting is fine in theory and as an intellectual discussion in the drawing room or living rooms around the country, but when you actually get to polling day and you have to vote against your principles, then it is much harder to do.

I'm willing to entertain arguments that tactical voting is just voodoo, but not along those lines — the only way I could vote my conscience on January 23rd would be to set my ballot on fire. If anyone wants to talk me down from Jack Layton's ledge, I'm all ears.

(Cross-posted at the Shotgun, where I'm sure you'll find more interesting comments than here.)

Posted by Chris Selley at November 28, 2005 10:01 PM

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"...the only way I could vote my conscience on January 23rd would be to set my ballot on fire."

Please Chris, I'm young and impressionable -- don't give me ideas.

Posted by: Matt McIntosh at November 28, 2005 11:14 PM

I was thinking more along the lines of some kind of public urination involving my ballot.

Of course, in my Toronto, a strategic vote to defeat the Liberals is even more important - http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/house/mpaddress.asp?Language=E&query=286.

But, alas, likely futile. Which brings me back to the public urination scenario.

Posted by: Mike at November 29, 2005 09:08 AM

You could always spoil your ballot...or go in and officially decline it. Neither option would be as fun, but they'd both send the message...

Posted by: matthew at November 29, 2005 10:03 AM

Vote Conservative...your one vote won't make a difference in your riding...however it will salve your conscience and indicate support nationally. It is the right thing to do, no vote is a waste.

Posted by: Paul Hansen at November 29, 2005 11:27 PM

Canadians need an equivalent of http://www.votepair.org/ to remedy this situation.

Posted by: Buzz at December 1, 2005 11:07 AM