Remember in 2008 and 2011 when Canadians so despised Stephen Harper that they held their noses and voted strategically in an attempt to remove him from office? It backfired. Strategic voting re-elected Harper in 2008 and then again in 2011 when he won with a majority.
It wasn’t only strategic voting that carried the day for this unpopular prime minister. In 2008, Canada saw the lowest voter turnout in our history. Harper’s majority win in 2011 saw the third-lowest.
Strategic voting and low voter turnout are cautionary tales for democracy.
Compare this to the results when people were inspired to get out to the polls and vote for Greens. In BC, PEI and New Brunswick, voters said “yes” instead of saying “no.” They said “yes” to a basic income guarantee, proportional representation and action on climate change.
People came out in record numbers. Voter turnout skyrocketed and Greens got elected.
Not only did they get elected, they came from behind. In the seven seats held by Greens, not one of them were in second place in the previous elections. In other words, “strategically” casting your ballot for the second-place candidate to remove a first-place candidate wouldn’t work.
The only way we get the people we want elected is by voting for them.
You’ve heard it before. You may have said to yourself: “I want to vote Green, but it’s a wasted vote.” or: “I love the Greens, but I have to vote strategically.”
The first half of both those sentences are true. I too want to vote Green and I too love the Greens.
And I will vote for them.
Why? Because we have the best social, economic, environmental and democratic policies and because the “buts” in those sentences just aren’t good excuses. Those “buts” don’t work to build the kind of communities we are proud to call home.
Your vote is not wasted.
Your vote is your indication of support. It helps get Greens elected and it helps fund the party that shares your values.
That’s right, any party who receives more than two per cent of the popular vote (Greens, PCs, NDP, Liberals) gets $10 per vote over four years. So when you vote for the Greens, you’re voting for your tax dollars to build the kind of society and programs you want. Why would you choose to have your hard-earned money support something you don’t stand behind?.
The only wasted vote is a vote you don’t believe in.
Don’t let cynicism keep you away from the polls. It’s easy to be disheartened by the political shenanigans we see in the headlines every day. That’s why today — perhaps more than ever — it is critically important to get out and vote for what you believe in.
The only way to get the government you want is to vote for the government you want.
Strategic voting doesn’t work. Staying home doesn’t work either.
So get out to the advance polls. Bring your friends and family, and vote with your head and your heart.
You have the power to create change and you have the power to make history by electing the first group of Green MPPs in Ontario!