Elizabeth May’s excellent performance in last week’s leaders’ debate may well boost Green Party fortunes in the upcoming federal election. How ironic that her success could lead to every Green’s worst nightmare — another Harper majority. The reason for such a bizarre outcome lies with our antiquated electoral system which can allow the least desired candidate to ride to victory on a wave of vote splitting.
I live in Ms. May’s riding and plan to cast my vote in her favour. I will do so because I oppose the Conservative agenda and know for certain that Ms. May stands a great chance of being re-elected.
If I were a Green supporter in another riding, I would think more carefully about voting Green. The question foremost in my mind would be this: Which candidate stands the best chance of defeating the Conservative?
In the coming weeks, a grassroots organization called Leadnow will attempt to prevent vote splitting in swing ridings. Progressive voters will be encouraged to “vote together” to keep Conservative candidates from winning. This is a very positive initiative.
Greens should abandon the idea of garnering as many votes as possible and focus instead on the long-term goal of electoral reform. (A good showing by the Green Party this time around would be irrelevant if we end up with another four years of the Harper wrecking ball.)
Once a new electoral system is in place, as promised by both the NDP and Liberals, strategic voting will no longer be necessary and Green voters will gain full representation in Parliament. It’s a matter of simple arithmetic.
Salt Spring Island