Ballots and Strife

Tomorrow morning, before seeing to some matters involved with my search for employment, I’ll be going to cast my vote in the federal election (my very first chance to participate in federal politics). I’ve given a lot of thought to how I’ll be voting and discussed the election at great length with a number of people. I was given no reason to waver from my initial choice, and feel confident that my choice is the right one.
Those of you outside of Canada may not be aware that we’re at the end of one of the closest national races in recent memory. The Conservative party has made the right a real threat for the first time in a decade. The Liberal party, which has been in power for eleven years, has slipped in voter confidence because of mismanagement of funds and broken promises (among other complaints). Other than these two leading parties we have the NDP, a party which has the strongest environmental and social platform (I strongly believe it to also be the most sound overall) of the five parties expected to win seats in the election, the Bloc Quebecois, a regional party based in Quebec and in favour of that province leaving Canada, and the Green party, a small centrist party which has not yet held a seat (you should note that it is much less “green” than its name would suggest, with a poorer platform than the NDP in that field). It’s going to be a very close election, with the NDP or BQ expected to be holding the balance of power once the government returns to activity. It’s going to be an interesting and worrying time.
My vote will be for Alexa McDonough, the incumbent NDP candidate for my riding. She was national leader of the NDP from 1995 to 2003, the first woman to lead a recognized political party in Canada (1980, while she headed the NDP here in Nova Scotia) and is a former social worker. From what I know of her, she has represented us well. The NDP is the one party which I most agree with, and it’s fortunate they have someone running here with both the support of the community and the integrity to serve us well.

I think the conservatives pose a very grave threat to the future of Canada as a nation comitted to social good. They propose cutting taxes, raising spending on the military and cutting vital social programs. Most economic analysts are suggesting this will result in a fiscal deficit, something we haven’t seen here during Liberal rule. Should the conservatives ever gain power here I fear we will suffer damage similar to what has happened in the U.S.A. due to the conservative rule there.
It is my sincere hope that we can keep the conservatives from power. I’ve always been one to vote for the party that best represents my views, and I’m lucky that the choice is again clear for me in that respect. I wouldn’t advocate voting strategically in most elections. I feel it hinders democratic progress. Voting for the lesser of evils does not serve us in the long run. I would ask each Canadian who may read this, however, to seriously consider voting for the progressive candidate in your riding that has the best chance of winning and keeping the balance of power in the hands of people who recognize the need for a focus on social good. Above all, I urge you to vote. It is vital that you do so to keep our nation on a path that can lead us to a future we can have great hope and pride in realizing.

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