Vote for the Candidate in Your Riding – Liberal, NDP or Green – Who You Believe is Most Likely to Win and Spare Us from the Nightmare of a Service Gutting, Climate-Denying Ford-Scheer Coalition in Ontario
A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted October 20th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
I have often wondered who, among us, is getting called for all the polls we read and hear about during provincial and federal elections,
Then a few days ago, for perhaps only the second or third time in my life, I was called by a national polling agency and asked to respond to a few questions about this Monday’s federal election.
First I was asked, who I thought was the best leader among all at the helm of parties in this federal race. My answer, without a nanosecond of hesitation, was Green Party Leader Elizabeth
The very next ask from the pollster was which party in my party that I planned to vote for. My answer was the Liberals.
If this comes across as confusing, disappointing or something worse to you, let me try offering a brief explanation.
Before I do though, I always feel the need, as a voting citizen and most particularly, as a journalist, to say the following –
I am not, and never have been a card-carrying member of any political party and probably never will be. To do a play on one of my favourite lines from one of the the greatest social critics and contrarians of all times, Groucho Marx; “I would never want to belong to any political party that would have a person like me as a member.”
In my view, partisan politics is at the root of so much of the rot we see and smell in our governments today.
Now let me get back to the answers I gave to the pollster and why I think it is so vital to vote strategically in this Monday’s federal election – an election that can make the difference between having a fighting chance for a health and prosperous future on this planet, and a climate catastrophe that could make the life most of us would want for ourselves and those who follow virtually impossible.
Since the first time I was old enough to put an ‘X’ on a ballot in the 1970s, my objective has always been to vote for one of the candidates I believe to be the most honest and principled in the field, and, finally, to vote for the one most likely to defeat the worst in the field.
In this election, in the Niagara Centre Riding I live and vote in, that has left me deciding to put my ‘X’ beside the name of the Liberal incumbent Vance Badawey.
I am voting that way in spite of my belief that the Green Party’s Elizabeth May is the best federal leader with the best platform for addressing the climate emergency and a whole host of other challenges and inequities around education, health care, the wage gap, tax loopholes for the super-wealthy, etc.
And I am voting that way in spite of a whole list of disappointments around the past four years of leadership (or lack thereof) from Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, beginning with his disastrous decision to invest more than $4.5 billion of our tax dollars on a tar sands pipeline, without consulting with Canadians, and in a pathetic weak-kneed effort to pander to a constituency of tar sand cowboys and cowgirls in Alberta that is never going to vote for him anyway.
With that God-awful pipeline purchase alone, and with what it says or symbolizes about how strongly and courageously he is prepared to address the climate crisis,, Trudeau has put himself and his Liberal Party in a position where they have been in a neck-to-race with, of all things, climate laggard and government services-slashing enemy of the common good – Andrew Scheer and his Conservatives.
Yet most all of the polls and the anecdotal, on-the-ground information I’ve been able to pick up tells me that the one party that has the best chance of keeping Scheer’s Tories from forming the next federal government and a pact with Doug Ford that will further ravage our health care, environmental protection and other common good programs in Ontario is Trudeau’s Liberals.
And as much as it may disappoint supporters of the two other good parties in this race – the Greens and the NDP – to read this, in my riding, the candidate I am voting for because I think he has the best chance to win is the one holding the Liberal banner.
In the riding that you live and vote in, the candidate that has the best chance of winning may be the person running for the Greens or the NDP. So vote for them, if you will, and do everything you can to keep Scheer’s Conservatives away from the reigns of power.
And that also goes for the older voters out there who, generally speaking, have had a history of voting for Conservatives out of a hope that a Conservative government is going to make their lives ‘more affordable and put money back in their pockets’, while at the same time protecting their access to health care and other needed services.
Let’s get real folks. We have seen this movie before, with Mike Harris’s Ontario Tories in the 1990s, over the past decade with Harper’s federal Conservatives, and again in Ontario with Doug Ford’s Conservatives.
Now here we go again with Scheer proposing billions of dollars in cuts to government programs and proposing tax cuts too. How do you think that is going to work out? Do you actually think that Scheer, like the others, is not going to start cutting programs that matter to you?
When that happens, who do you think is going to pay for your health care? My millennial-age daughter and her friends, many of whom are drowning in school debt and struggling to find decent jobs?
How many times are older voters going to put their hands on a hot stove only to get them burned? Do it again this time, and you might find a lot less sympathy out there when you start losing the services you need.
The bottom line is that there is a tremendous amount at stake in the outcome of this election – not least of which is the future of our planet and everyone and everything we know that lives on it.
On the climate issue alone, expert researchers around the world are warning that we are at or near a point where there may be no turning back the damage that has already been done to our life-sustaining systems for growing food, for keeping our communities safe from severe floods, winds and fire storms, and from a host of other destructive outcomes.
We cannot afford four years of rule by a Conservative party that over and over again, provincially and federally over the past 20 or 30 years, has shown its naked hostility to programs and policies for protecting our environment.
So this Monday, October 21st, I urge you to vote for the candidate and the party that has the best job of winning in your riding, and of keeping Scheer’s Conservatives out.
And if it turns out that we have a Liberal minority government, with the NDP and Greens playing an active role in the balance of power, that may be the best we can hope for around implementing a more progressive climate action plan and protecting what is left of our other common good services.
That is something that is worth going out and voting for!
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
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