Vote Early, Vote
Often, and Vary Your Vote
Brandon Sun, October 4, 2008 - David McConkey
Because our election seems to have a foregone conclusion and be so
boring compared to the American one, you might be tempted to not bother
But, please do get out there and vote. For anyone!
This election, like any election, has a bearing on our country’s
future. Every vote does add up.
For one thing, your vote could decide the winner. For another, your
vote provides government funding for the party of your choice - now and
until the next election.
I have heard some, especially younger people, say it is not responsible
to vote, since they don’t know enough about the issues and the
candidates. I say: get involved anyway, ignorance never held back my
Besides, voting once can inspire one to become more informed the next
time around. Voting is a good habit to get into.
An important question for this election: Is it responsible to vote for
a “fringe” party?
This time in Brandon-Souris, the question is especially appropriate,
for two reasons. One, the Conservatives are almost sure to win here
again. Two, the Greens have a very attractive candidate in Dave Barnes.
I am voting for Barnes, and here’s why.
“Vote for the person, not the party,” is an expression of long
standing. It makes sense. I have known Dave Barnes for years,
encountering him in various musical, charitable, and environmental
settings. I know of his work as a high school teacher creating the
EcoOdyssey program, and the high regard he is held by students and by
As a bonus, Barnes speaks French. Regardless of party, sending someone
to Ottawa with the competence and conscientiousness of Barnes would be
a good thing.
I don’t agree with everything that the Green party stands for, but I do
like their overall focus. I’m tired of conservative politicians, in
effect, telling us, “Don’t worry, buy more stuff” – Like Stephen Harper
cutting the GST to encourage us to consume more, or U.S. President
George W. Bush after Sept. 11 declaring the best way to respond was for
everyone to go shopping.
I like the Green party challenging citizens to think long-term and to
consider the costs of being environmentally responsible. I also like
the Greens going beyond traditional left- and right-wing thinking.
The better the Greens do in this election, the more all parties are
encouraged to think more holistically.
We do ourselves a collective disservice when we vote in a predictable
way. Because Brandon-Souris is assumed to be a safe Conservative seat,
it is written off by all parties. We likely won’t see much attention
being paid to us, or major party leaders visiting us.
Instead, why don’t we vary our vote, and put Brandon-Souris in play,
and on the map? If we elected the Green party here, or even placed it
second (a real possibility), we would raise our national profile.
I have voted Conservative, Liberal, and NDP at various times in the
past. I encourage all not to be afraid to vote for a different party,
at least one time. You can always change back in the next election.
Responsibility: Let’s return to the original
question: Is it responsible to vote for a fringe party, instead of the
Yes it is.
Firstly, fringe parties can grow and become part of the mainstream.
That’s what Reform did when it evolved into the Alliance and then
joined with Progressive Conservatives to become the current
Secondly, voting for a mainstream party is not always the most prudent
option. Even setting aside environmental concerns, I don’t think
Conservative policies have been fiscally sound.
Cutting the GST, instead of income taxes, is not forward-looking and
not good for productivity. Plus, the Conservatives are spending more
than the previous Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin governments. A healthy
surplus has dwindled to nearly a deficit.
“Voters were initially assured a Conservative government
would be fiscally responsible,” the Canadian Taxpayers Federation
asserted recently. “The Tories have instead been reckless, embarking on
a spending binge that hamstrings their ability to lower personal income
taxes and reduce debt in the future.”
After potentially four or eight years of Conservative deficit spending,
we could be looking to another party to clean up the mess. It happened
before – in 1993. That was after Brian Mulroney: the last time we had a
Canada apparently will have the Conservatives back in power after the
election on October 14.
But wouldn’t it be good to have a Green influence in the opposition
now? And possibly part of the government in the future?
* * *
for the Next Election?
Discussions on Tax and Crime are Being Avoided
Youth May Soon Lead Change