In my previous article, I described the way conservative party leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was elected again and again; not representative of the average Canadian’s preference but as a result of familiarity and complacency. His was a familiar name during the Liberal Party’s frequent leadership turnover and some folks are complacent about reading up on other candidates. How many Canadians “just pick someone” or vote “same as before”, rather than doing a tiny bit of digging and inviting discovery of other options?
My beliefs and concerns are usually in line with the Green Party but they and the NDPs were long dismissed as too small to effect any electoral weight. Isn’t it odd? We mechanically viewed our choices as “A” or “B”, similarly to the Americans. Then came Jack Layton. Jack was inspiring and cared about people and change. He challenged opposition comfortably but was supremely likeable. On his deathbed, when he needn’t have given his day job any more thought, he wrote “A Letter To Canadians”. His small party reached official opposition status in our 2011 election.
Does no one remember that we still considered the NDPs “too small to vote for” even then? Eventually, when the election was inprogress, we could see Jack gaining favour but does no one remember being shocked at the Liberal Party’s decimation? Micheal Ignatiuff lost his riding’s seat. I remember thinking: “I like Jack Layton but is voting for him helping unfavourable candidates win”? The mathematics didn’t occur to me then: a vote for what we want, is a valid vote away from undesirables. I followed my gut and Jack did not see his surge of new seats as a loss. He experienced a historic coup.
After his death, I was an undecided voter. New NDP leader Thomas Mulcair isn’t for me. He puts down other parties, instead of simply stating what he would do for our country. It has reached the point of sounding childish; the misconception that downplaying others will lift the spotlight on one’s self. What’s more, he hovers over the few default issues that he thinks he is expected to harp about. My family advocates exercising our vote. When none of the major parties appealed to me, nor are their platforms applicable to me in most categories; I found myself guilty of not reflecting what I really want.
How ludicrous not to consider the Green Party, with the platform that echoes so many of our ideals. Their exclusion, censorship from television will not hide their clearly-budgeted platform from Canadians; nor their names from our ballot boxes. They are a valid, strong option whom we can choose. Why minimize our vote by regarding it as a means to change out Prime Minister Harper? ANY vote we cast elsewhere is a vote away from him. As a matter of fact, it’s a vote away from all, except the party we choose!
Finally: there is no such thing as “too small for our vote”. Small becomes big when enough of us check-off that party, on the ballots we are handed…. tomorrow! We will not limit our options to three parties that seem big – for now. We will exercise our votes in favour of who we want. Let’s surprise Canadians with the power of our choice again.