Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Albertans' Election Dilemma: not who to vote for, but how to mitigate election damage

Apparently, many Albertans are struggling with the idea of how to mitigate the impact of Alberta's election outcome, rather than vote simply for candidates and parties which more truly represent theirs views and beliefs. The phenomenon is called strategic voting: the use of one's vote to support an outcome which results in the lesser of two evils or preventing a particular party from winning an election.

Albertans are facing the far right wing libertarian Wildrose Alliance Party and the right wing and more socially oriented PC Party (and seven others parties aligned from the middle to the far left of the political spectrum).

Due partly to major media bias, and election finance laws which favor parties with strong ties to corporate and wealthy interests, the Alberta election discourse has been biased, significantly, to the Wildrose Alliance and PC Party. For example, just two days into the election, the Calgary Herald ran a front page article with photographs and referencing survey results it co-sponsored, about a two party race, and only mentioned four parties out of the nine registered Alberta parties.

Since 75% of Albertans make less than $49.999 a year (Statistics Canada, 2011), the prospects of a Wildrose Alliance government is somewhat terrifying for some Albertans, because middle and lower income Albertans will be left to fend more for themselves as social programs are cut.

So do Albertans vote for the PC Party, the lesser of two evils, or do they vote for the party which truly represents their interests and beliefs? In recent Alberta elections, the number of strategic voters has been around 22 percent, which is about 1 in 5 voters. The number could be higher in this election.

What should Albertans do?

The FDA advises that Albertans evaluate the threat that the Wildrose Alliance proposes, and if that threat is deemed very serious, then Albertans should vote for the PC Party, the next viable option to form government (in order to quell/prevent the greater evil). Canadians are aware of the consequences of doing otherwise, as the federal Conservative Party of Canada, which has a similar agenda to the Wildrose Alliance Party, is dismantling Canada's civil society, silencing opposition voices, and pursuing a narrow, short-term economic agenda at the expense of Canadian society and environment.

In terms of democracy reform and from a non-partisan perspective, the Alberta NDP has the most progressive and sound democracy reform platform of all nine Alberta parties, by banning corporations and trade unions from making electoral contributions, and supporting campaign expenditure limits and proportional representation. But what good is voting for the Alberta NDP if the greater evil gets into power? Can Albertans, especially middle and lower income earners bear four years of the libertarian agenda of the Wildrose Alliance; can Alberta civil society bear four years of it; can Alberta's environment bear four years of it....?
Evidence of Media Bias Early in Alberta Election

Wildrose Inducing Votes?

2012 FDA Canadian Provinces Report 

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