Friday, 12 June 2015

The 2015 Canadian General Election is shaping up into a tight race. To stop Stephen Harper strategic voting may be needed in many ridings.

A current popular button.

Stop Harper seems to sum up what needs to get done in the upcoming Federal General Election. Stephen Harper is dropping in current polls but the progressive vote of Liberals and New Democrats remains divided.

by Tom Thorne

I live in the newly gerrymandered Ontario riding of Bay of Quinte. That new riding contains the City of Belleville, Quinte West which includes Trenton, and the entire land mass of Prince Edward County. It has a population of 109,488. Check to see if you will be voting in a revised or new riding.

In Bay of Quinte the Liberals are running two time Belleville Mayor Neil Ellis. The Conservatives are running Jodie Jenkins who has served on Belleville City Council and has had other incarnations as a candidate for the New Democrats which I find hard to reconcile given the right wing swing of the Conservative Party under Stephen Harper. The New Democratic  Party (NDP) candidate is Terry Cassidy who has been a Quinte West city councillor. 

Check out the candidates you have in your local federal riding. In our case we have a chance for change since our current Conservative member Daryl Kramp is running in a neighbouring riding.

My objective is to do what I can to stop Harper getting another majority or even a minority government. In my view Stephen Harper and his government are a menace to our freedoms. He is secretive, controlling and treats the media with contempt. Stephen Harper continually criticizes Supreme Court decisions and even individual judges when they throw out his legislation or challenge his government.  

Many of Stephen Harper’s appointees to the Senate of Canada have blown up in his face. The Mike Duffy trial continues while the chamber of sober second thought now scrambles to maintain any semblance of decency as they look at their lack of procedures to control the public purse from profligate spending. 

Stephen Harper came to power almost a decade ago with a promise to revise the Senate. Now he says that that can’t be done without full consent of all of the provinces. It would require a Constitutional change. 

The provisions of  Harper’s Anti Terror Bill C-51 provide no oversight by Parliament. This legislation plays fast and loose with Charter rights and it enables judges to grant warrants that enable government intelligence organizations to do acts that would normally breech the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Judges are being told that they will be obliged to go against the Charter.

Bill C-51 was criticized very publicly with open letters by many law schools and deans of law schools. Their concerns fell on deaf Conservative ears. This legislation will likely end up for rulings by the Supreme Court. In the meantime federal government agencies will be able to share information about Canadian citizens that could not happen before Bill C-51 was passed.

The New Democrats voted against Bill C-51. They can now self righteously say that they did the right thing but it is not that simple.  Since the NDP voted against Bill C-51 their only choice if they form a government would be to come up with a new anti-terror bill or after a Bill C-51 repeal or revert to the old provisions from after 9-11 provided by the Chretien Liberals. Of course the NDP in government could also provide their own legislation to replace Bill C-51 and it could be interesting to see what they would propose. Perhaps they will say during the election?

The Liberals attempted to alter Bill C-51 with amendments. All of their amendments were rejected by Harper and NDP members of the parliamentary committee. Liberals wanted to include stronger oversight and a sunset clause. In committee these Liberal amendments were voted down by three NDP members and five Conservatives. Liberal amendments were voted down 8-1. The current Liberal stance on Bill C-51 is it will be amended if and when they form government. 

Early poll trending shows Conservatives down, Liberals and NDP are up.

In the 2011 Election the Harper Conservatives got a majority government with a national popular vote of 39.6 percent. The Liberals polled 18.9 percent and the NDP 30.6 percent which made them the Official Opposition. In many ridings the Conservatives slipped through the divided Liberal and NDP vote. Admittedly in some ridings Conservatives scored votes that were much higher than 39.6 percent but in many cases the split vote gave them a riding.

Right now in June 2015 the mean average of many polls taken in May and early June show this trend developing for the 2015 Federal Election. Conservatives are down to 28.1 percent. The Liberals are at 26.1 percent and the NDP down one point from the 2011 election at 29.6 percent. The Green Party is up by 4 percent from 2011.

In the 2011 election the combined Liberal and NDP vote averaged 49.5 percent which means that almost half of Canadian voters did not want a Conservative majority to happen. Add in the Greens and this number rises to 53.4 percent. The projections for the 2015 election indicate that the combined Liberal NDP vote will be 55.7 percent and if you add in the Greens it becomes 63.3 percent.

So this is how Stephen Harper gets a majority with 39.6 percent because of a first past the post election system that kills the democratic aspirations of other political views. The immediate simple solution of course is strategic voting. Vote for the best candidate no matter what your political stripe is normally. To be even more candid vote for the candidate that can defeat a Harper Conservative.

Recommended Book to focus where the Harper Government has been taking Canada
I urge you to read an excellent book before you vote this fall. It eloquently explains my anxieties about letting Stephen Harper continue to govern Canada. The book is by Paul Wells who is the political editor of MacLean’s Magazine. The title is: The Longer I am Prime Minister, Stephen Harper and Canada 2006-. Random House Canada 2013. 

© Copyright 2015, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved. 

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