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What the heck happened this past Canadian Federal Election? October 22, 2008

Posted by Raul in Uncategorized.

I was reading a tweet by Joe Solomon regarding an upcoming talk he’s giving on the use of internet and social media to help solve the climate change crisis. I won’t get into the details of whether it is solving the climate crisis or at least mitigate some of the effects it will have and adapt to climate change. That’s for another post.

But as I was reading Joe’s tweet and thinking about what we can do, something made me stop in my tracks. You DID have a great tool to vote strategically (VoteForEnvironment.ca). Did people NOT use it? I mean, as you can see from the results of this election, the Conservative government is staying in power and Stephane Dion is stepping down from the Liberal leadership.

If (as argued by many comentators) Harper’s climate policy is less than ideal, and people wanted to vote to achieve environmental goals (using the Vote For Environment strategic voting tool), why didn’t anything happen to shift from one government to the other? I can say that the website VFE was really popular, so clearly people were looking at it. Did nobody take action?

Just puzzled…



1. Kulpreet Singh - October 22, 2008

I predicted there would be extremely low voter turnout a few weeks before the election and I’m sorry that I was right.

I cannot confirm the following because I don’t have the stats, but I think the higher profile the candidates, and the longer the race goes on (to some extent), the better the turnout. This could be due to many things: people gain more awareness of the candidates over time, people get more encouragement to vote from fellow citizens over time, Elections Canada has more time to promote voting over time, etc.

I feel this election happened way too fast and completely in the shadows of the US Election. It was horrible timing to have an election and the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars wasted on the whole process could have helped a lot of homeless people in Canada. All we have now is the same minority government, a new Liberal leader, and probably another election next year or the year after.

2. Kulpreet Singh - October 22, 2008

^I mean “All we (will) have now…”

3. Dobes - October 22, 2008

I think there’s way to much “strategy” and not enough authenticity around politics. Policiticians strategize to get elected, instead of showing their real opinions. Voters vote strategically to get certain parties in power, or certain issues raised up, instead of voting for the candidate who is best at the job. Why not forget about strategy and start speaking our own truths instead?

4. Stephen Rees - October 22, 2008

I think what happened was people looked at their RRSP statements and got scared. “The economy” is now top of mind, not the environment. What is truly baffling is why people would think that Harper is better qualified to run the economy, given he is using exactly the same set of policies that caused the problem in the US. But then our dollar is down and theirs is up – so obviously when it comes to macro-economics I am out of my league, or need a new voodoo doll.

5. Dave O - October 22, 2008

The left was split and Canada’s true desires weren’t manifest. The Liberals ran a (sorry) lousy campaign, the Green acquitted themselves excellently but are out numbered everywhere and the Cons slipped right in strategically laughing while Layton attacked Dion.

We need a proportional representative system where the House reflects Canada. We need a run-off style ballot so we aren’t flummoxed by the “strategic voting” conundrum (i vote with my heart).

And the parties need to show – in short, clear statements – how we (they) can protect the environment while promoting the economy.

I am still worked up about they way this election went down and riffed more about it at A Few words for Democracy at happyfrog.

6. Beth - October 22, 2008

I agree with Dave O – we really need a proportional representation system so that we aren’t faced with having to consider voting strategically or knowing that we are voting with our heart where we end up splitting the vote, resulting in a Conservative win.

7. nomademoderne - October 22, 2008

@Dave O and @Beth: I agree that the first past the post system has serious flaws and I personally would have preferred a different outcome for the election. However, a proportional representation system, depending on how it was implemented, may not have helped all that much and, arguably, could have resulted in a Conservative majority. I’ve actually been looking at the election numbers in more depth (i plan a blog post, just haven’t gotten around to it). For an instant voter run-off type system, the important thing is to look at the proportion of seats won by less than 50% and who came in second for those races. Bottom line, the Conservative wins were more solid than the other parties. Only ~45% of their seats were won with less than 50% of the vote (as compared to ~75% for the Liberals and above 80% for the NDP). On top of that, for the NDP seats won with less than 50% of the vote, Conservatives were in second place in more than half of those ridings. I hope to have the numbers up on my blog in the next couple of days so you can see for yourselves.

8. What happened in Canadian Election? « Ephemeral Feasthouse - October 23, 2008

[…] What happened in Canadian Election? October 23, 2008 — Dave O My pal Raul asked this question at: What the heck happened this past Canadian Federal Election? […]

9. Dave O - October 23, 2008

@nomademoderne i hear ya, the Cons ran a very smart campaign and strategically went hard in ridings which could be considered up for grabs – with the current system, a win by 1 vote is the same as a win by 10,000.

Do you think a strong leader(s) can unite and inspire the left or will this splitting continue?

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