Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who Do You Vote For In Canada?

With the opposition to Stephen Harper split between four parties, this election may finally give him the majority he needs to carry out his most unpopular policies. His agenda has been delayed by years of Liberal rule followed by a frustrating Conservative minority rule.

Ignatieff, the leader of the Liberals, made a serious error early in the election stating that he would not join a coalition against Harper.

In a surprise turn of events, the Liberals have slipped to third place in the pre-election polls. The NDP, led by Jack Layton are running second.

Canada is a country where it is quite easy for one strongly united party to rule the country even when most of the people vote against it, as we do not have a "top-two" runoff system. Whoever scores highest in the first round ballot wins, as there is no other ballot. As a result, many Canadians waste their first vote on parties that are not even in the running, and are not given a second chance.

If you would like to Stop Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, there is a way to make sure your vote counts, even without reforming this voting system. Simply cast your only vote for one of the top two candidates instead of the candidate of your choice. This is known as "Strategic Voting".

How do you do that, when you don't really know who the top two candidates are? Well, you may be surprised to know that polling organizations have the advanced numbers on how people say they will vote, riding by riding, and the information is available on the internet. Click on the link below, enter your postal code, and you will see the latest poll numbers on your riding.

This is the website link:


  1. Thanks for the link, and yes we do seem to be currently in a bad spot were voters who don't like the Cons need to unite

    And I totally agree about coalition--I would have been very interested in seeing a coaltion of Libs/NDP/BQ and even a Green if any breakthrough--would have represented a heck a lot Canadians than any one party that happens to elect the most MPs will...

  2. That strategic voting website is actually run by Project Democracy and, at least in my humble opinion, they deserve our support - along, of course, with the party of your choice ;-)

    The most recent polls do, in fact, suggest that Conservative popular support has slipped somehat; they're now polling in the 34-37% range, likely not enough for their desperately wanted majority.

    I've been somewhat depressed about the state of democracy in my country - the Reformers arrogantly governing with only 22% of Canadians supporting them (i.e. 37.6% popular vote in 58.8% eligible voter turnout).

    However, given the significant (35%!) increases in advance poll attendance, the evident growing interest in this election on the part of the twenty-somethings and the relatively high proportion of undecided voters (10-20%) at this late stage of the election, I'm 'conservatively' (LOL!) optimistic that we'll see a higher turnout on Monday.

    But, in any event, Monday's results will be interesting (much more interesting, I think, than today's wedding ;-) to watch.

  3. You cannot have a run off election in Canada because we don't vote directly for the Prime Minister but for Members of Parliament. If we had separate ballots for PM and MPs then the concept of a run off would make sense.

  4. True: We don't vote for the prime minister because, at least according to our constitution, there is no such position as 'prime minister.'

    The position of 'prime minister' is simply a convention inherited from British parliamentary tradition. An, in practice, the prime minister need not even be a member of Parliament - Abbott and Bowell were not.

    Under our system, the 'prime' minister is exactly that: first among the ministers. Nor is our prime minister the head of state (as American presidents are) - our head of state is the Queen (represented by the G.G.).

    Which is why it's especially galling to see prime ministers arrogating to themselves the attributes of presidency, including the spending of millions upon millions each year on the spurious and partisan PMO - despite the observations of the Gomery Commission that the current structure of the PMO lends itself to corruption.

    Ignoring Gomery, the 'Harper Government' has taken the PMO to unprecedented levels.

  5. Just swell ... our elections seem to be taking on even more of the nasty aspects of the elections of our neighbours to the south.


  6. In answer to Pseudonym, you are right, in that we do not have a runoff for the PM because we don't even vote for a PM.

    So that explains why we do not have a runoff for PM, but why does this prove that strategic voting therefore cannot work? The system I was talking about can work if a lot of people use it, and it works on a riding by riding basis. I was not even thinking in terms of of a PM runoff.