It’s exactly two weeks until election time here in Canada. We’re into the home stretch of things now. The candidates are gearing up for their final debate and preparing to make their cases one last time before the electorate goes to the voting booths. So, it’s time that we, as the electorate, talk about something they seem to gloss over in favour of waving party flags: Left and right.
It seems like every second day we’re getting a new poll coming out and the results change every time. One day it’s the NDP in the lead, the next it’s the Liberals or the Conservatives. The three of them seem to keep hovering around the thirty percent mark and jostling for the top spot but neither of them is squarely in the lead. In the back of the pack are the Green party and the Bloc scrabbling for a foothold in the political climb. That’s the party numbers. In total, what these numbers keep shouting at us is that every poll shows seventy percent of respondents do not want Stephen Harper or his Conservative party governing Canada. Yet, we’ve had a decade of that remaining thirty percent winning out and handing elections to the party that the overwhelming majority does not want. It leaves one to wonder why things end up this way.
At this stage of the game, that answer should be completely obvious. I, for one, think it’s time the Liberals and the NDP level with themselves and the electorate and face it: They have divided the majority and allowed Stephen Harper’s minority to take over our country. The Liberals, NDP, Greens and Bloc are all left wing parties. Their specific ideologies may differ, but the fact remains that they are all occupying one side of that coin. On the other side is the Conservative party. They stand alone with the entirety of the right wing vote in their corner.
It wasn’t always like this, at one time there were the PC and Reform parties splitting hairs on the right wing side of the coin. Those days are gone and despite Peter MacKay’s promises to the contrary, those two parties merged into Conservative Party.
Even though the right wing seemingly only represents about thirty percent of Canadians, the fact their parties have united has given them sway over the whole country. It shouldn’t be this way. The fact of the matter is that the power players of the left wing will not come to terms with it and election after election we get stuck with Stephen Harper. Never does this become more apparent than when Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau start bickering with one another at debates. Harper sits back and grins away to himself while they work to talk over one another and score proverbial points. All three men know the divisive game being played when the Liberals and the NDP have a spat but Harper is the only one smiling. Because when the left wing fights amongst itself, the left wing loses and the right wing wins.
This is not a new revelation by any means. All the parties knew from day one with the new Conservative Party that it meant a unified right versus a divided left from here on out. The Liberals were naïve about it and they thought they held enough of the left wing vote to still win. The NDP weren’t bothered by it because they were more concerned with beating the Liberals. That was until the Orange Crush in the 2011 election.
It’s an interesting term to use to describe the NDP’s surge I think. The NDP did crush it that year in terms of garnering electoral support. However, it wasn’t the Conservatives they crushed, because the Conservatives won a majority. No, it was the Liberals who were on the receiving end of the crushing. The NDP weren’t sapping away votes from the Conservatives, nor were they giving them votes. Instead, what the Orange Crush proved was that if we split votes between the Liberals and the New Democrats then the Conservatives, with their unified right wing voter base, are going to be the ones who will win.
I still remember when the news stations were carrying news of the NDP surging in the polls and I remember saying to myself. “Well, those aren’t Conservative votes they’re going to be taking away. Canada is screwed if we split the vote and let Harper take majority.”
At that point I was hoping that Jack Layton and the Orange Crush were going to take the whole election. I liked Jack Layton. I thought he was a fine, upstanding man and the prospect of having him as Prime Minister excited me. However, it was not to be and sadly, my prediction came true.
That was four years ago and now we’re soon going to have our chance to cast our ballots again. Harper and his Conservative Party are going to be coming into this with another united right wing voting base. The Liberals and NDP are both promising they won’t support a Harper minority. However, they’re both insisting on contending for as much of the left wing side of the coin as they can until the votes are read.
So, with this in mind I speak to the seventy percent of Canadians who, like me, have said they don’t want Stephen Harper as their Prime Minister. If the Liberals and the NDP will not work together and are willing to gamble the future of this country in the interest of their parties then we need to vote strategically.
We can’t let the votes split here again and the best way to do that is to get informed. Find out which candidate in your area, be they red, orange or even green, has the best shot at winning over the Conservative candidate. Make sure others in your area know who has the best chance and encourage other left wing and undecided voters to also vote strategically.
Canada can’t afford four more years of Stephen Harper. We, the voters, need to present a united front ourselves and vote him and his party out.
This is our chance. Register. Get informed. Vote strategically.