Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Strategic voting is the only way to release Stephen Harper's right wing grip on Canada.

Only the electorate know this for sure. They will have to vote strategically for it to happen.

The electorate understands Stephen Harper’s divide and conquer approach to Canadian federal elections and they don’t like it. Expect Conservatives tired of Harper to switch their vote. Their natural home when discontent with their own party is the Liberals. That is why the New Democrats are looking more like the Liberal Party.

Conservatives of a more socially aware Tory bent are tiring of supporting the right wing ideology that Stephen Harper has attempted for the last decade to impose on Canadians. He has done this with his base of 38.7 percent of voters that in 2011 election that gave him his current majority. 

Tory Conservatives natural home when they are irritated or at least concerned with their own party and leader is the Liberal Party. If enough disenchanted Conservatives do this then Liberals will elect more members for the new parliament in a tight three way race.

Conservatives of this kind often cannot bring themselves to vote for The New Democrats (NDP) unless the NDP looks more Liberal and shrugs off its socialist veneer. That may have happened in the recent Alberta provincial election. The current stance of the federal NDP is to look more like Liberals which could be their way of trying to siphon off traditional Liberal voters. They have a much harder time getting Conservatives to switch but they try by saying they will balance the budget one of Harper’s current election mantras.

In this tight race something has to happen of this kind for any party to get even a minority government. All parties say they will not form coalitions so it is up to the voters to create the government they want. That means a clear shift for Conservatives to either the NDP or the Liberals. In many ridings where the vote is close it will mean strategically voting against Stephen Harper’s view of Canada.

As an example in my own riding Bay of Quinte where the tight race continues. The battle at the moment is between the Conservatives and Liberals although still close with the NDP behind the Liberals by five points. Polls indicate the chances of the riding going either Conservative or Liberal is now 50-50. NDP supporters have to move to the Liberal  to beat out the Conservative candidate. It is like this in many ridings across the country. Conservatives who find Harper too much to take have to also change from their normal voting patterns to the Liberal candidate who at this time is the one who can beat the Conservative in my riding.

The tightness of the current election race indicates that there are many undecided voters who normally have allegiances to one of the three major parties. I believe we are in for a major switch of these allegiances if the election further polarizes to rid Canada of the Harper Government. In those circumstances party loyalties will become less important than the task to stop Harper.

Then there are the voters who are unaligned and with no party affiliations. Their depth of political understanding of the election and what’s happening to Canada may be superficial. They may respond to party propaganda such as the intense He’s just not ready campaign of the Conservatives against Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. Equally they may be influenced by Liberal and NDP propaganda. These voters could hold the balance of who forms the next government.

The next five weeks of this campaign compounds because of its 78 day length the perilous outcomes that could happen for Canada. Literally anything can happen. The Conservatives have been beaten back as the front runners by the Duffy trial, migrant refugee issues, the economic news and their stance on the war in Syria. Can they rebound? Can Stephen Harper’s steady state message break through again?

The upcoming five debates may change the tone of the campaign. However, the likelihood of any one pulling away from the other parties with majority numbers seems very remote. The steam has gone out of the most expensive Conservative campaign in recent memory and despite their spending seem at the moment to be going nowhere. 

Can the NDP or Liberals pull away? Only when the electorate marking their ballots vote strategically can we expect a change that will not mean a minority government and then another election to settle the direction of Canada issues. This election is about curbing the right wing direction of Harper and restoring a more humane centralist government. Given the tight race that means voting strategically to stop Harper or to content yourself with perhaps another four years of Harperland.

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