Jan. 16th, 2006

frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
My editorial for this week's Excalibur, yet to be published (i.e. you lucky people! you get to see this before anyone else!)

Strategic, schmrategic
By François Villeneuve
Technology Editor

It has been a short 18 months since the last election, and many York students will get to vote a second time while studying for the same degree, an unusual occurrence. For those of you voting again, the question arises: Did your vote matter?

Those that voted Conservative, Bloc or NDP saw the Liberal majority melt into a minority, which you would think would make Paul Martin lose the banana-republic arrogance that his party was starting to sport. It didn’t work. Other than changing the wording of the throne speech, the Conservatives and the Bloc were not able to have much of an impact on government.

It was the NDP that managed to have the greatest impact on government policy. In exchange for its support, the NDP got corporate tax cuts that the Liberals had not promised cancelled, and instead made the government spend money on education, housing and the environment. These were all kinds of things that the Liberals had promised they would do, but needed extra pressure from the NDP to actually feel like doing. Eventually though, when the NDP demanded that the Liberals live up to their public healthcare rhetoric, the Libs balked, thinking that they could win the ensuing election.

So here we are now, asking the same question a-new: How can I make my vote matter?

In terms of progressive policy, the NDP is clearly the best choice, promising more money in education, healthcare, a national childcare program and an especially innovative environmental program that has brought Greenpeace and the Sierra Club to support the NDP rather than the Greens. It’s that good.

In recent weeks though, the rise of the Conservative Party in the polls has frightened a great many Canadians, who do not fall for the newly minted “benevolent leader” image that Stephen Harper has carefully manufactured. His dollar-store benignness can only be a thin veneer that will come off should the adoptive son of Western Canada acquire a majority. On the flipside, the NDP cannot aspire to form a majority–its best hope is that of a coalition partner, the conscience of a minority government.

So as they have done in the past, many Canadians will resort to so-called strategic voting. They will vote for a party that repulses them in order to attempt to keep at bay another party that frankly scares the hell out of them. I cannot blame them, as I think of the Harris years in Ontario. I shudder, should such a caustic kind of government rule ad mari usque ad mare.

Personally, I have never voted strategically, always placing my vote with the NDP, no matter the circumstances. I know that whatever the outcome is, I voted with my conscience.

For those whose conscience includes trying to outsmart other voters though, it is imperative that they are well-informed before voting. In this regard, there is a good site, democraticSPACE.com, which offers a non-partisan strategic voting guide for supporters of all parties. It is surprising how few ridings actually offer any potential for strategic voting.

In most places, voting “strategically” at best does nothing at all, and at worst results in the opposite of what one hoped it would be.

Every election, even the best pundits and political scientists cannot predict the final result. For example, no one foresaw the Conservatives’ 1993 collapse, which reverberated across the world. So why do voters keep thinking that they can see the big picture from their armchair?
frandroid: large crowd of indian women (women)
So with Chile electing a female president, Latin America and Africa late in 2005 joined Asia, Oceania and Europe in the club of continents that have had women as heads of state.

As for North America... Well I guess we'll hav to wait a bit more.


Très amusant héhé


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