Don’t tell me to vote strategically in 2019

In the lead up to the 2015 federal election there was a broad consensus that Harper was bad news and needed defeating. The left was split and either the NDP or Liberals could’ve been the ones to take the helm. That or vote splitting could’ve handed the Conservatives another big victory that most Canadians didn’t want.

The response was a strong ABC (Anything But Conservative) strategic voting campaign. Leadnow doubled down on assessing whether an NDP or Liberal would have a better shot at winning in a given riding and convincing people to vote ABC. I told so many of my friends in Calgary Confederation to vote for Matt Grant because he was their best chance. If I’d gotten my away ballot (I registered but didn’t receive anything) I would’ve voted strategically for the Liberals.

The Liberals promised that there would not be another first past the post election. If we sucked it up this one time for the greater good then we could pick who we wanted next time around.

When they were elected I rejoiced because I felt that a new era had begun, one in which there would be a space for people like me in Canadian politics, one in which you could vote for a party you liked instead of a party you thought was less awful than the really awful party. I like what the Greens and NDP stand for. Sadly, I know that as long as I’m in Calgary I will never cast a vote that counts for either of them.

Trudeau started the electoral reform promise decently. He agreed to make the committee proportional after NDP requests. Then he started to waver. After saying vague and noncommittal things and totally botching the process, the Liberals have decided to give up all together and pretend they never said that electoral reform would happen.

Whatever you think of reform the Liberals did make a promise, an unequivocal and clear promise. I would accept a referendum in 2019 if the Liberals wanted to go for the time argument. Instead they’ve just decided to pretend like this issue didn’t matter and that they never said a thing.

The Liberals are doing this in part because the committee didn’t pick the system that they wanted — STV has a middling effect and would be best for the Liberals. PR would mean coalitions and an opening for the left. The Liberals don’t want that.

Trudeau has also forgotten what brought him to power in the first place. He united a fragile coalition of left-wing voters in a set of circumstances that will not be easily repeated. He has broken enough promises that that coalition is now in tatters.

When the Liberals were down and the third party they were more willing to entertain the benefits of electoral reform. Now that they are in power they seem to have changed their minds about the problems with the system. Perhaps Canadians are so in love with Trudeau that we won’t mind the broken promises and he can ride his image to another majority. Or maybe the Liberals will stay right and compete with the Conservatives for votes because they know the opportunity on the left is fading fast.

Either way if the Liberals want another majority I expect them to get it on the merits of what they have done as a government and their campaign. I refuse to be told that I am in any way responsible for strategically voting to prevent the awful bad thing from happen. This is Trudeau’s mess, not mine. If the Liberals think they’re so great they need to go win this on their own. I was told that in 2019 I could vote for the party that I liked and I intend to do just that.



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