The reasons given by Bob Rae today for urging Liberals to target their attacks now at the NDP are senseless. They're intended to scare voters into doing exactly what they shouldn't: vote on the basis of "who stands the most chance to form the government," rather than for the party whose policies a voter most supports.
Think seriously about how asinine that argument is.
Rae said the Liberals need to emphasize that voting for the NDP will only make it easier for the Conservatives to increase their seat count.
"In the last 10 days, we've really got to focus on what are the real choices. And I honestly believe the NDP is not a viable choice anymore," Rae said after rallying about 40 supporters.
"Jack might think he's Barack Obama, but he really isn't. He's Ralph Nader. The effect of voting for his candidates in most ridings is to perpetuate Conservative rule."
One might argue the reverse and it would be as equally self-serving.
Scene: Hypothetical NDP strategist argues to gathered supporters:
The NDP need to emphasize that voting for the Liberals will only make it easier for the Conservatives to increase their seat count.
In the last 10 days, we've really got to focus on what are the real choices. And I honestly believe the Liberals are not a viable choice.
Dion might think he's Barack Obama, but he really isn't. He's Ralph Nader. The effect of voting for his candidates in most ridings is to perpetuate Conservative rule.
What matters, or should matter, to each and every voter, is which party platform best represents that voter's values and offers the best solutions. And engaged voters should be working to make the party platforms known to their friends, co-workers and neighbours.
If I am to vote for the Green, NDP, Liberal or, for that matter, Conservative candidate in my riding, it will be because the party which that candidate represents coheres best with my own sense of what matters.
I'll not vote based on a self-serving argument such as that which Rae has put forward.
Yes, thanks to our embarrassing, archaic, anti-democratic first-past-the-post electoral system, voters face a prisoner's dilemma. However, no party or candidate should be encouraging supporters of other parties to vote for them simply because their own party of choice purportedly doesn't stand a chance.
Voters should not be asked to compromise their democratic right and obligation to vote according to what they believe would be the best platform for this country.
What voters need, after the election is over and after they have cast their votes, are leaders with the backbone to do what's right: to form a temporary coalition, if necessary, one whose representation reflects each party's percentage of the popular vote - hence giving voters a form of proportional representation. Then, approach the Governor-General to request that the coalition form the government.
The coalition's first order of business? As Elizabeth May in the October 2nd debate said,
"First we have to fix the electoral system. We have to put ourselves on the path to proportional representation so we don't run the risk of false majorities such as a majority of the seats with the minority of support."
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