Here's how to thwart Stephen Harper's Conservatives in key Lower Mainland ridings

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      Today, Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP Joyce Murray sensibly suggested that people should avoid splitting votes to ensure that Conservatives will win the next federal election. (If you doubt the wisdom of this, check out this article: "What might Stephen Harper do in his fourth term as prime minister?")

      So how does a voter avoid splitting votes in this region?

      It's quite simple, actually. There are some ridings where Harper's candidate will slide up the middle if enough Liberal, Green, or NDP supporters back the wrong horse. So the key is to vote strategically rather than with your heart in those electoral districts.

      In other ridings, that's not necessary. For example in Vancouver Centre, Vancouver East, and Vancouver Kingsway, voters can cast ballots for any candidate they like. That's because there's no chance of a Conservative being elected. The same is true in New Westminster–Burnaby, which might be the safest NDP seat in the province.

      Several other seats are Conservative shoo-ins, so voters can freely vote for any other candidate. These include Cloverdale–Langley City, Delta, Langley-Aldergrove, and South Surrey–White Rock, where former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts has been nominated.

      In the following ridings, here are my recommendations, as of today, for the candidate who's most likely to stop Harper.

      Burnaby North–Seymour: Carol Baird Ellan (NDP)

      Burnaby South: Kennedy Stewart (NDP)

      Port Moody–Coquitlam: Fin Donnelly (NDP)

      Richmond Centre: Lawrence Woo (Liberal)

      Surrey Centre: Jasbir Sandhu (NDP)

      Vancouver Granville: Jody Wilson-Raybould (Liberal)

      Vancouver Quadra: Joyce Murray (Liberal)

      Vancouver South: Harjit Singh Sajjan (Liberal)

      West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country: Pamela Goldsmith-Jones (Liberal)

      Meanwhile, it's too early to predict North Vancouver. For now, I'll suggest keeping an eye on Jonathan Wilkinson (Liberal) and Claire Martin (Green). Wait a few months to see who has more momentum in going against the Conservative incumbent, Andrew Saxton.

      Surrey-Newton is also a toss-up right now. If the Liberals are five points ahead of the NDP in national polls, then people should go for Sukh Dhaliwal. But if the NDP is doing well in the national polls, then progressive voters should support Jinny Sims, who's been a strong, community-minded MP.




      Apr 14, 2015 at 5:37pm

      A cynical article.

      Voting for the candidate you support is the ONLY way to ensure your vote is not wasted.

      Election is 6 months away so why not write about something current?

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      Apr 14, 2015 at 5:55pm

      "Surrey-Newton is also a toss-up right now. If the Liberals are five points ahead of the NDP in national polls, then people should go for Sukh Dhaliwal. But if the NDP is doing well in the national polls, then progressive voters should support Jinny Sims, who's been a strong, community-minded MP."

      Of what relevance are national polls in determining whether to re-elect an incumbent New Democrat MP? In almost every case voters wishing to vote strategically to oust the Conservatives should support incumbent NDP, Liberal, and Green MPs (with the possible exception of Bruce Hyer, who was elected as a New Democrat, not a Green, in 2011). Even in Conservative-held ridings, voters may be misled by national polls because of the regionalized nature of party support. A better guide is the historic voting patterns in the riding in question. E.g., voting Liberal in a Conservative-held seat in which the NDP habitually comes in first or second will probably re-elect the Conservative.

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      Apr 14, 2015 at 6:37pm

      " Vancouver Centre, Vancouver East, and Vancouver Kingsway, voters can cast ballots for any candidate they like. That's because there's no chance of a Conservative being elected."

      Not so fast. If voters in those ridings split their votes more or less evenly among the NDP, Liberals, and Greens, the Conservatives could end up with the largest plurality.

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      Don't try to "vote strategically" -- vote for your values

      Apr 14, 2015 at 11:47pm

      To all the people saying "Vote strategically!", I have to disagree!! What you're basically asking people to do (this far away from the election) is to base their decision on the previous election(s)' polling results. This is a bad idea for many reasons, which I'll explain here.

      The opposition parties' policies differ drastically from each other in very important ways. Attempting to "vote strategically" is just throwing away a chance at supporting a politician who will champion the values you hold high, in lieu of one who may not be much better than Harper when all is said and done. Will you really be able to sleep at night, after the election, knowing you voted for a party who did nothing to stop Bill C-51 from passing? (Liberals) Or a party who, aside from a few notable outliers, did nothing to oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline? (NDP) After the oil spill in Vancouver, do you really want another 890,000 barrels of oil a day coming to Burnaby's waters? Heck, Trudeau *supports* the Kinder Morgan pipeline. The only party opposing the pipeline is the Green Party.

      If these issues are important to you, don't throw away your vote on a party just because you *think* people will vote the same way they did this election as they did the last election. People change their mind, and the candidates matter. The candidates have changed since last election -- there are a lot of new ridings with no incumbent because the electoral boundaries were recently redrawn.

      I urge everyone to research the candidates and their personal positions on the different policies, not merely the official party positions, because sometimes the candidate's position will be different. (Warning: when positions differ, that's a red flag -- most party leaders whip their MPs most of the time, i.e. force them to toe the line on votes in the House. So just because your local MP champions something, they may not give it to you.) Then VOTE WITH YOUR HEART and with a clear conscience.

      Also, get out your friends, your neighbours, coworkers, anyone who doesn't typically vote. Encourage everyone. There have been many close calls in the past (handfuls of votes differing between one party winning and another in a given riding). Youth voters especially. Studies show time and again that youth tend to vote progressive, so the more youth we have voting, the worse the Conservatives will do in the election.

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      wes tietzen

      Apr 15, 2015 at 6:56am

      Yes, strategic voting offers problems, both ethical and practical. However, many of us prefer sin to death and will vote for the candidate with the better chance of ousting the Harperites.

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      Apr 15, 2015 at 8:18am

      I'm voting for the person/party that most closely shares my values and vision for the future. If a government that I don't like gets in, then it's because more people want that government to lead the country. That's how democracy works.

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      Le Parti Canard/Duck Party

      Apr 15, 2015 at 9:39am

      Since these two main opposition party leaders can still fumble and mess things up, le Parti Canard/Duck Party proposes that Green Party leader Elizabeth May lead a coalition of "stupid white men". Basically she steers the strategic vote by proposing to Canadians what party to vote for in each riding in order to get rid of the Conservatives, either the non Conservative that won last time or the party that came second to the Conservatives. Et voilà, the Conservatives nightmare would be over!" Vive le Parti Canard/Duck Party!

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      Edward Bernays

      Apr 15, 2015 at 9:44am

      The premise of "vote-splitting" is only plausible if one considers the options available interchangeable enough so as to negate choice. In my opinion they are not. This old tactic will only serve one party's interests. The Liberals. Some of us are old enough to recognize this tactic from times past. I used to promote this idea myself when I was a Liberal soldier. All I can say is that the NDP holds Quebec. If you want an alternative to the Cons elect an NDP candidate. Try to see the forest instead of your little tree. Understanding the national landscape is the only way to "vote strategically."

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      Don Barthel

      Apr 15, 2015 at 10:34am

      Generally I agree with the concept but basing your strategic vote on the last elections results is wrong. So get a feel for who is leading, listen to the polls, then decide.

      Disclosure: I'll be volunteering to help elect Lynne Quarmby, SFU Professor and Burnaby Mountain defender and Green candidate, in the newly formed riding of Burnaby North–Seymour where there is no incumbent.

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      Steve Abbott

      Apr 15, 2015 at 11:01am

      I find it interesting, that while the author references Joyce Murray, neither his article, nor any of the comments posted so far, pick up on what Joyce Murray actually proposed. That is a grass-roots initiative in vulnerable ridings, to nominate joint candidates. Joyce proposed this at he time of the Liberal leadership convention, as did Nathan Cullen something similar at the time of the NDP convention. While Joyce suggests that this option is a decision to be taken at the riding level, it would be a blessing if the party leaders at the national level could endorse it for the vulnerable ridings where it is obviously necessary. Elizabeth May has proposed something similar, but has been rejected by Trudeau and Mulcair. What are the chances of the party membership urging their leaders to endorse this obviously sensible course of action? What are the chances of Joyce and Nathan, along with Elizabeth, being permitted bring forward a proposal to their parties for this eminently sensible solution to be tried in up to 20 vulnerable ridings this year? Clearly there is a chance for riding associations to go out on a limb with the support of their membership, but it would be so much more likely to succeed with the blessings of their parties.

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