Posts tagged ‘NDP’

Day 34: NDP Split May Result in Harper Majority

Avoid Vote-Splitting at ProjectDemocracy.ca

I’m a little concerned over the way the election campaign is headed. Unfortunately, it seems that the Conservatives are a shoo-in to win this election. But what’s even more concerning, is the shift of support away from the Liberals and Bloc to the NDP and how that can actually result in a Harper majority government.

I’m not anti-NDP. I’m quite thankful for their insights and contribution in elevating the issues important to me as an Anishinaabe person. My biggest concern is how the poll results may send a lofty reassurance to NDP supporters, that will only result in damaging vote-splitting.

According to Wikipedia: “Vote splitting is an electoral effect in which the distribution of votes among multiple similar candidates reduces the chance of winning for any of the similar candidates, and increases the chance of winning for a dissimilar candidate.”

The intangible factor remains that polls and the popular vote doesn’t always translate into seats. In 1988, the NDP enjoyed an unprecedented lead in the polls of up to 41 percent. It didn’t translate into a significant amount of electoral seats. The Green Party had over six percent of the popular vote in the 2008 election. However, they have never elected a single MP.

My analysis indicates the Liberals will form the official opposition. The NDP have little chance in picking up enough swing seats to meet or exceed the 77 seats currently held by the Liberals. Even with their surge in Quebec, I can’t see the NDP picking up that many seats at the Bloc’s expense.

Remember, there is absolutely no mathematical chance of the NDP forming the government. Period.

Yet, Jack Layton’s personal likability and surge of poll support has pleased a lot of NDP supporters and new voters. If NDP supporters vote their conscience, or the they pick up Liberal and Bloc support – the result may be a Conservative majority government.

Remember, a Harper majority will spell untold catastrophe for First Nations issues and respect for aboriginal and treaty rights. We could possibly see an end to the post-secondary student support program and non-insured health benefits under Harper’s slash-and-burn approach.

What is the solution to this quandary? The answer lies in strategic voting.

First Nations have long debated the use of strategic voting. As First Nations don’t have strong voting numbers, with the exceptions of a dozen key ridings across Canada. First Nations are in a prime position to use strategic voting to skew the results in a few more ridings to our favour. In this case, our goal should be to work together to ensure Harper doesn’t get a majority.

In this election, thanks to the influential environmental lobby, we have the use of a powerful tool called Project Democracy. The primary goal of Project Democracy is directly aligned with our goal: to ensure Harper does not get a majority in the House of Commons.

The website, ProjectDemocracy.ca makes use of a riding-by-riding, statistical-based analysis to provide voters with up-to-date information on how to use strategic voting to ensure the Conservatives do not achieve a majority.

I urge you all to carefully consider your vote. Sure, you may be happy to vote your conscience and mark your ‘X’ next to the NDP. But when you wake up the next morning to a Stephen Harper majority government, because the NDP/Liberals/ Bloc vote-split, you may be filled with regret.

Especially, when you have to pay for your eyeglasses, prescription drugs and college tuition.

Day 28: Hey, NDPers… Rethink Your Vote

I received a little note from a friend yesterday, with a very frank and important message.  It will be my thought of the day…

There are a lot of Anishinaabeg who are supporters of the NDP.  Jack Layton is a pretty cool guy and genuinely supportive of First Nations.  But the reality is a vote for the NDP will translate into for a vote for Stephen Harper.  The math is that simple.  The only feasible alternative to a Harper government, this time, is a Liberal government.  The reality is even more startling.  If the NDP split the centre-left vote any further, the result will be a disasterous Conservative majority.  A well-respected Anishinaabe leader has told me that a majority Conservative government WILL target post-secondary education and non-insured health benefits as a part of their promised cuts.  We all need to rally around the Liberal party, Michael Ignatieff, (Liberal, Etobicoke-Lakeshore) and our fantastic platform for First Nations people.  All you NDP supporters, take a look at the Liberal aboriginal platform again, and consider carefully, that you might actually be enabling a Harper majority which could spell an end to much of our rights.

Day 17: NDP Releases First Nations Friendly Platform

The New Democratic Party has released their platform today in an effort to reach a broad audience, including First Nations.  Sadly, their $9 billion commitments will once again fail to pursuade the broader electorate.

It is commendable that Jack Layton and his party have given First Nations some priority in their “Leadership in Canada” section.  Those of us with the hope of a coalition would be pleased to see this form part of a governing mandate.

From the NDP platform:

5.1 Building a New Relationship with First Nations

We will build a new partnership on a nation-to-nation basis with First Nations, Inuit and Métis people across the country to restore a central element of social justice in Canada and reconcile the hopes of Aboriginal people with those of all Canadians;

We will establish this new partnership by forging a new relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, fostering economic opportunity and lasting prosperity, ending the discrimination still faced by Aboriginal people in Canada and supporting the process of healing the harms of past injustices. We will begin by:

Increasing access to capital for aboriginal business development so that First Nations, Inuit and Métis people can fully participate in the Canadian economy;

Improving physical infrastructure such as housing, drinking water facilities, roads and other essential services;

Removing the punitive 2 per cent funding cap on Indian and Northern Affairs Canada transfers to aboriginal communities;

Addressing the education deficit with a $1 billion per year investment over the next four years, inspired by Shannen’s Dream.

Day 12: First Nations would benefit from Electoral Reform

There are a lot of First Nation voters that are tempted to support the New Democratic Party or Green Party this election.  After all, these parties have very progressive agendas when it comes to First Nations issues.  Some voters are just so angry at Conservatives and the Liberals for the current state of Parliament and our fourth election since 2004.

But it’s easy to be progressive and responsive from fourth party status and no-party status.

As the Conservatives say in their latest TV ad:  “A vote for the Liberals is a vote for Ignatieff.”  (Brilliant, eh?  Who writes this stuff for them?)  That’s certainly true.  Truth is, this time around, a vote for NDP or the Greens is a vote for HARPER.

I’ve been swayed by the charms of Jack Layton too.  Last election, the NDP promised to restore the Kelowna Accord.  But we can’t forget the fact that Kelowna was conceived of and led by a historic partnership between the Liberals, the provinces and First Nations. Sadly, it was the NDP supporting the Harper Conservatives who brought down the Martin government and thusly, obliterated the most significant piece of Aboriginal policy…  EVER!

Promise what they want, the reality is that the NDP have absolutely no hope whatsoever of forming the opposition, much less a government. For Layton, it’s easy to support every single social cause you bring to them.  In my political experience, the NDP have never said “no” to First Nations.

Another fact is, the Greens have absolutely no hope whatsoever of winning a single seat, much less form a caucus in Parliament. I offer my kodos to Elizabeth May for stepping up and demanding to be heard through a debate.  But truth be told, she’s unelectable herself.

Monday night, I was contacted by devasmicota on Twitter who suggested that we ought to support a First Nations party.  “How about a First Nations Party for whom we don’t have to sell our souls to”. I agree wholeheartedly.  To me, that is the best way to ensure our voice is heard in Parliament.  But electing an MP on a First Nations Party ticket is just not going to happen anytime soon.

However, there is hope.

Every once in a while, there is a call to examine and change the way we elect parliament.  The call for proportional representation will get even louder if the government fails to make a minority parliament work after the third time.

Proportional representation is a type of election system that moves away from the first-past-the-post election of MPs, to allocating seats based on representative need.  During the 2007 Ontario election, there was a referendum asking voters that very question. Unfortunately, it failed miserably.

We can certainly argue that Canada needs a seat, or a number of seats allocated in the House of Commons for First Nations.  We can also use proportional representation to ensure every party has an elected MP based on popular vote.  If that were the case, in 2008 the Greens would have elected 20 MPs. That’s great news for the environment, but bad news for Elizabeth May’s day job.

First Nations would truly benefit from electoral reform.  Not only would we get one or two seats in Parliament by means of a set-aside.  A First Nations party could manage to get two or three more based on the popular vote.  Five seats in a proportional representative parliament is a mighty caucus.  In a minority parliament, those five votes might just hold the balance of power.

That being said, I wish all the luck to Will Morin, leader of the First Nations National Party in his candidacy in the Sudbury riding.  Folks like Will and Jerry Fontaine, both Anishinaabe, will be instrumental under a proportional representation system when the time comes.

If Parliament continues as it has in the past five years, the time for proportional representation won’t come soon enough.

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