With multiple elections looming, it’s a critical time for everyone who believes in democracy to make sure their voice – and their vote – is heard. This year, there seem to be a lot of creative ideas being shared, and and some excellent websites running that enable people to really make their vote count.
I personally want to do whatever I can to drive the Conservatives out of power or at the very least keep them in very much a minority position. You may well feel differently, and if so, feel free to skip the rest of this message. Hey, that’s democracy! But if, like me, you feel that the Harper government stands on the wrong side of too many issues, read on for some strategies for maximizing your impact next week.
Let’s get to the web tools right away:
An online up-to-the-minute interface tells you where your vote will do the most good in your own riding. Strategic voting at its finest!
It’s easy, it’s safe and it’s legal – pair your vote with someone else so you both have maximum impact! Check out this interesting (and hopefully effective!) idea.
Don’t forget the Vancouver Civic Election and Provincial Byelections!
I urge all eligible Vancouverites to make an effort to vote in the civic election, Sat. Nov. 15, 8 am – 8 pm.
We need to improve on the miserable 30% turnout from 2005 and the controversial results that followed. There will be four days of advance polls, 8 to 8, in 5 locations, an easy mail-in procedure if you sign up for it before late October, and automatic registration for the Provincial election next May 12. (There is no connection to the Oct. 14 Federal election.) Visit www.vancouver.ca/vote, call 604-873-7681, or send e-inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Provincial byelections are being held on October 29 and are important too!
Federal election website: www.elections.ca
Provincial website: www.elections.bc.ca
Letter from an old folksinger
This is from Folk Singer Bob Bossin, and I felt it best to simply pass it along in its entirety. I couldn’t have put it any better.
This letter is blatantly political, but it is also personal. And urgent. I’ve been watching the federal election campaign with something bordering on despair. In all my 63 years, I have never known a government less in tune with my values than this one – and that is going some. By the polls, most of us feel kinda the same way. But we are divided among four parties, and that may allow Harper and his cronies to waltz back into power.
Skip to the next paragraph if you like, but I gotta get this 100-word rant off my chest: “In two years under Harper, Canada has become one of the worst heel-draggers on global warming. Our military has shifted from peace keeping to war making. Where we once welcomed war resistors, we now turn them away. In April, the Conservatives de-regulated and privatized food inspection, and we know what happened in August. They plan to do the same for the airline industry. Prisons, they say ‘are for punishment.’ And for 14 year olds. They don’t much like the arts and they don’t get the internet. I could go on. If Harper wins his majority, I shudder to think how, well, American, Canada will become.” End of rant.
What – as William Bendix used to say – a revolting development this is!
And yet, something is afoot. I don’t know about you, but I have been receiving dozens of messages from friends and strangers talking about what amounts to do-it-yourself proportional representation. I can’t say I’ve become optimistic, but I do believe there are two effective things we can do.
The first is to make our votes count. We may not have rep by prop (we are one of the world’s most backwards democracies in this regard) but we can fake it. If I lived in Central Nova, I would vote for Elizabeth May in a heartbeat. But here in Nanaimo-Cowichan, to vote Green (or for that matter to vote Liberal), is, de facto, to vote Conservative. Lucky for me, our local MP, Jean Crowder, is good people, and anti-Harper through and through. I don’t have to hold my nose when I vote. (I just have to roll my eyes at Jack’s car-salesman style.) But if the best way to stop the Conservatives was to vote Liberal, this time I would. With glowing heart. (Registered trademark, 2010 Olympics, all rights reserved.)
Fortunately, voting strategically has just gotten a whole lot easier. There is now an amazing website, www.voteforenvironment.com, that is tracking every riding in the country and making up-to-the-minute suggestions on how best to fight Harper. It is the coolest example of Canadian grassroots democracy since the Free Trade comic book.
So that is the first thing to do: check out www.voteforenvironment.com.
And there is another thing just as important. This happens to be a time when our ability to communicate with one another has never been greater. To contact you with this message, I just had to overcome my reticence about doing it. (I’m Canadian, after all.) The rest, nowadays, is easy. If you do it too, if you contact your friends and colleagues, acquaintances and list-mates, and let them know what you are thinking, we could actually affect the results in some key ridings and, who knows, we might even affect more than that. It’s worth a try.
2455 Islandsview, Gabriola, BC, Canada V0R 1X7