April 30, 2011

Stand up for democracy. Vote on May 2nd!


“More than 60 percent of Canadians do not support Harper and his government’s contempt for democracy. Yet, he could win a majority with as little as 35 percent of the popular vote.” — Project Democracy

I think it’s telling of our citizens that we have three left-wing or centre-left national parties and only one right-wing since the merger of the PC and Reform parties back in 1990-something. (Quebecers of course have an extra choice.) It appears to make sense, then, that 62.4% of voters voted for these parties in the last election. Unfortunately, as we’re all aware, this doesn’t translate to 62% of the House of Commons, and a candidate can be elected with under 30% support in their riding. Our abysmal voter turnout (58.8% in 2008) should be a clear signal that our system needs to change.

It’s not changing for this election, so the best option Canadians have to turn the tables in Parliament is to vote strategically. We have a resource to help us find out which ridings could avoid a potential Conservative win by uniting the left-leaning voters toward the candidate best positioned to win. Project Democracy offers recommendations and has up-to-date polling data and historical results, including voter turnout. It includes Ekos polling which, unlike Nanos, includes the Green Party in their question. Project Democracy is recommended by Avaaz.

Also check out CBC’s Vote Compass, OpenMedia.ca‘s campaign for an open internet, ShitHarperDid.com and ShitMayDid.com. (Don’t worry, the one about May is positive and as entertaining as it is informative!)

On Monday, May 2nd, exercise your right to vote. I’ve been asking my friends whether they’re voting (like me, some are part of the 2 million that voted in advance polls last weekend, a record number). You should do the same. If they say no, gently ask them why. If they say it’s because they don’t know our parties’ platforms, point them to the Vote Compass. If it’s because they don’t feel their vote counts, remind them that democracy depends on all of us voting, and point them to Project Democracy. We won’t see a change in our democratic system until we see leadership that respects democracy.

Fingers crossed that we get a better voter turnout on Monday and finally hear from more Canadians. After all, most of us feel the same way.