Crawl Across the Ocean

Monday, May 16, 2005

Decision Time

Andrew Spicer had a good post up a few days ago talking about some of the different possible motivations for voting and coming up with a list of possible strategies:

"I could vote for the local representative...

1. ...of the party that I feel would do the best job if they form the government
2. ...of the party that I feel would do the best job if they form the government, but limited to those parties likely to the form the government
3. ...of the party that I feel has the best policy platform
4. ...of the party that I feel has presented a policy platform that best points the direction we should be moving (in order to send a message)
5. ...of the party that I feel has presented a policy that best addresses a very important single issue / set of issues (in order to send a message)
6. ...of the party that I feel is led by the best* potential Prime Minister
7. ...who I think is the best* among the candidates in my riding
8. ...who is most likely to beat the local representative of the party I want to prevent from forming the government

(* - I can think of many ways of defining "best" in this context, but the list is long enough already. Note that the numbers in the list are for reference only.)"

It's a pretty thorough list but the one thing I would add is the concept of looking beyond just the riding you live in and thinking about the results in the province (jurisdiction) as a whole.

For instance, here in B.C. I feel that the Liberal party is too far to the right in a number of areas but I still like the fact they generally want to make things work and get things done which can be important, especially when even clearly beneficial ideas face strong 'Not-in-my-backyard' challenges. Meanwhile I trust the NDP to do a better job making sure the laws aren't tilted too far in favour of corporations, ensuring public services are adequately funded and taking care of the poor and more vulnerable - but I don't trust them to keep spending growth to moderate levels, to make smart business decisions, to have the political will to make important projects happen or to avoid creating a lot of counter-productive unnecessarily complex regulation. Finally the Green Party has a lot of great ideas and makes for a nice break from the business vs. labour divide which plagues B.C. - but they also have a lot of really poor ideas which show that they haven't thought through all their policies (i.e. reducing tuition to 0).

So what does this have to do with voting? Well, just looking at my riding, I might be tempted to vote Liberal. But looking at the (expected) results for the province as a whole, I think that the Liberals are already likely to be overly represented in the legislature vs. how much I support their policies. So I am likely to vote for balance - that is, I will use my vote like a counter-weight, trying to move the overall result in the right direction, rather than simply voting for exactly what I support.

That still leaves the question of NDP vs. Green1. Right now I'm thinking Green. Partly because they seem more like a forward thinking party, but also because I believe a multi-party system is healthier than one with two big parties squaring off against each other since that can lead to the kind of polarization we've seen in the United States in recent years. But maybe I just like to vote for the underdog and would be better off voting for a party with a better chance of winning my riding (since it appears it may be close). I probably won't make a final decision until I'm in the booth.

1I should note that I also considered the Democratic Reform party as well, but they seemed a little too unsettled for me. Beyond platitudes and pragmatism, I wasn't really sure what they stood for. Of course as far as I know they have no candidate in my riding anyway, so that part is easy.

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