Saturday, April 2, 2011

How To Deny Harper a Majority

In this particular election cycle, it seems that far more discussion is given to concepts of majority rule, minority rule and coalition than perhaps ought to be. A lot of this talk is merely shifting focus away from ideas and from substance. It's all very interesting academic talk, but it doesn't have much value regarding the question each individual faces of who to cast their vote for.

It doesn't, despite the attempts of so many people to give it value.

I can't count how many times I've hard people say things like 'Canadians don't trust Harper enough to give him a majority', or of course the converse - Harper's constant pleas to give his party a majority in order to ward off the scary voodoo-zombie-vampire that is a (gasp) 'coalition'.

But it's all very annoying. It suggests this strange position where individual voters have some capacity to choose whether the Conservatives should have a majority or a minority, as if this were the question posed to us on election day. I don't even know how to 'vote to ensure Harper doesn't get his majority' - do I do that by voting for one of the other parties? But if my goal is not to 'deny Harper a majority' but to remove him from power completely, isn't that how I do that?

The fact is that any individual can do nothing more than throw his or her entire weight behind any one particular party. If 2 May leads to Elizabeth May and the Greens coasting to power in history's greatest landslide, it will have been achieved by nothing more than a large number of individuals who are each, separately, doing the same thing that Green supporters in 2008 did - when the outcome was more years in the wilderness.

We need to stop existentially considering how our vote might possibly affect the layout of Commons and just concentrate on which MP and which party has the vision that appeals to us most.

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