Opinion: Strategic Voting

Strategic voting is getting a lot of attention this election...across the country but particularly in the Kootenay Columbia riding.

Strategic voting is getting a lot of attention this election…across the country but particularly in the Kootenay Columbia riding.

Given the polarizing effect the current government seems to have on Canada, I suppose it’s no surprise. You love them or hate them. And if you hate them, then a change in government is more important than what that change is.

There is a letter to the editor on this page that states, “those voters planning to vote either Green or Liberal need to know that their votes will only serve to help Wilks get re-elected.” It goes on to say that those who want Harper gone, need to vote together.

The National Post summed up strategic voting perfectly in an editorial this week: “the voter is often presented with the dilemma of voting for a party he dislikes, rather than the party he likes, in order to prevent the party he detests from getting in.”

This is not entirely untrue. Odds are that many of the voters casting their ballots for Green or Liberal would prefer the NDP over the Conservatives.

If there were only two parties, the NDP might very well be leading the polls, rather than being neck in neck with Conservatives as they are now (at least in the Kootenay Columbia riding).

This is the part in the editorial where I’m supposed to throw my own opinion into the mix.  But the truth is, I’m not entirely sure where I stand on the issue.

On the one hand, if I, as a voter, want to see change in government, I should be informed of the most promising way to do that.

On the other hand, don’t tell me who to vote for.

I should be able to choose the candidate and/or party I like best based on their promises, platforms, and track record.

But here I go, using the S-word. “Should” gets used too often. We live in an imperfect world, and there’s a lot of things that SHOULD be. Instead I think it’s best to accept the reality of Canada’s political system and make our choices accordingly.

We all have to decide if we want to vote for the person/party who will do the best job, or the person/party who has the best shot at beating the person/party we think will do the worst job.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be checking the same box on the ballot either way. If not, you have a difficult decision to make.