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The Next Battle

October 17, 2008

If you are like me or, 62% of other Canadians, the election this week had a result that you did not support, even if you weren’t that surprised by it.

I was browsing around the internets and saw many people venting that frustration on their blogs.  ScruffyDan is one of those with a particular gripe that I have to disagree with. He, and others such as those calling for Elizabeth May’s head, are upset because they saw strategic voting, or did it themselves and it didn’t work.  Now they have buyer’s regret and wish they’d voted with their heart since it didn’t make any difference anyways.  I understand this frustration, but its misplaced.

Your vote was going to be wasted either way in the sense that it would not contribute to the makeup of parliament.  In hindsight if you voted Liberal instead of Green to keep a Conservative out it would have been better to vote Green. But you didn’t know that. You used the best info you had at the time.  And there is nothing wrong with that. In our very flawed electoral system, you have to vote strategically if you want to have a chance of your vote affecting parliament, which at the end of the day is what really matters.

Certainly, it is a good thing to support smaller parties, and over many elections they may grow and become stronger.  Look at the NDP, they get better every time, in 30 or 40 years, they may even form government. But seriously, I’m sorry, thats just not good enough. I’m not willing to wait 30 years for the Green party’s turn.  I’m not willing to wait 1 year frankly.

We need to vote strategically, vote swap, and shout out loud about our wasted, orphaned votes.  And we need to make enough noise that people demand that the system be changed.  The answer is not to ‘vote with your heart’ next time.  First-past-the-post doesn’t reward voting with your heart, unless you want to wait 50 years.  What we need is to change the system to a proportional voting system, any proportional system.  BC is voting on one next May, last time it failed to pass by 2%.  Keep that anger and help get it passed this time.  Once the country sees that a proportional system can work maybe we can begin the national discussion about switching to a better way. And then you won’t ever feel buyer’s remorse about your wasted vote again.

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