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An environmental take on strategic voting

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Generally, I have to say, I hate voting strategically. However stupid it is in our “first past the post” system (and I still haven’t quite forgiven Ontarians for voting against changing it), I prefer to vote for something than against something else.

That said, I’m must admit to being relieved, this election, that the party I really do want to vote for also happens to be the party with by far the best odds of defeating the Conservatives in this riding.

But I come to this topic from an email I received from the environmental group, Just Earth.

What’s an environmentalist to do in the federal election? Even for card-carrying Greens, it is complicated. The party worst on the environment in general, and climate change in particular, is the Conservative party. All four others are better, although they differ on particulars. The Liberals have the excellent Green Shift plan, which the New Democrats reject, but the NDP is better on clean energy.

Strategic voting will be the option for many. A website has been launched that will help voters make a rational choice ( A riding by riding breakdown identifies races where the Conservatives won by a small margin, and are therefore vulnerable, and ridings where they are a close second and a threat. Some 60 ridings will make the difference, argues this (somewhat incognito) website.

With split votes, this would be the result: Conservative 147 seats, Liberal 76, NDP 34, Green 0, Bloc 49, independent 2.

If we “vote smart,” this would be the result: Conservative 97, Liberal 109, NDP 46, Green 1, Bloc 53, independent 2.

Not easy, though. Imagine being a federalist in Quebec faced the “strategic” choice of with voting Bloc or getting another Conservative elected!

Also interesting was this report (PDF) from the Sierra Club, which compares and grades the party’s environmental platforms as follows:

  • Green Party: A-
  • Liberals: B+
  • NDP: B
  • Bloc Québecois: B
  • Conservatives: F+

I must say, their assessment of the differences between Green, Liberal, and NDP on this front were smaller than I thought.

(Remember when votes used to get split on the right side of the political spectrum, too? I really miss those days.)

One thought on “An environmental take on strategic voting

  1. I would argue that strategic voting isn’t necessarily voting against something, but could also be about voting for something.
    For example one can strategically vote for official opposition, or strategically vote for compromise.
    The point you bring up about the Bloc, I think is very valid.

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