Minority Government & Strategic Voting

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Minority Government & Strategic Voting: Voting to Save B.C.
by Rafe Mair
Two related matters today.

First, Prime Minister Harper is making a big fuss about needing a majority government. So are the Central Canadian media. I ask, what’s the matter with a minority government?

Think what the Harper government did without a majority and ask yourself what’s so good about a majority 5 year dictatorship? Why don’t the media examine what is right about a minority government.

In fact there is one extremely good thing – the government is forced to consult with other leaders both on the budget and general legislation. On the budget, the Minister of Finance can’t walk into the Chamber and say “like it or lump it – after the usual fandango and ritual speeches we, the government, are going to cram it up your…surely I need go no further.” How is that bad?

It’s the same thing with legislation and policy – there must be consultation.

It’s said that a minority government must always kiss the backside of the opposition – that is palpable nonsense. In reality minority parties while able to vote down the government rarely do. They usually are out of serious money for campaigning and don’t want an election where the government can, as here, bleat that they couldn’t get their legislation through - legislation that would end the nation's woes and bring happiness to all.

The media claims that all the House of Commons does is bicker. But surely to God that’s what they’re supposed to do. It’s a passionate place because there blood is spilled figuratively rather than literally.

In my opinion a minority government, while far from perfect, is the best of possible results - especially for British Columbia, which needs political clout.

Let’s look at what BC needs.

Of course we have the needs of the rest of the country - health, jobs, better social policy and so on - but very party wants this, with none of them likely any better than the other.

We have a province that has growing concerns about the environment and giveaways that are features of both Victoria and Ottawa.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) are in bed with the fish farmers as a memoranda leaked to the Cohen Commission clearly show. The Tories clearly support foreign corporations slaughtering our salmon in the interests of shareholders in Norway.

The Harper government supports the debasing of our environment so that large companies can make power we don’t need, that BC Hydro cannot use but is committed by contract to take and lose money on – all to the profit once more of foreign shareholders. In fact the federal government has helped fund Plutonic Power, which is General Electric in drag.

The Harper government supports the Enbridge pipeline from the Tar Sands to Kitimat and also supports huge oil tankers taking this sludge down our coast - arguably the most treacherous coastline in the world.

What can we do about this? What can we do to ensure that if Harper forms another government we in BC will be able to rely upon a strongly built opposition to see that parliament hears our concerns?

The issue before us is a stark one: do we support the party of our usual choice and the toady they have as their candidate or do we vote strategically so as to ensure our province has clout in Ottawa?

Strategic voting means supporting the best opposition candidate and vote for him/her even though in better times you wouldn’t.

We British Columbians have three areas of concern which, if badly dealt with, will kill off our wild fisheries, bankrupt our public Hydro corporation and ensure that oil spills on land and sea will damage our province beyond repair.

The Conservative government would allow, indeed encourage these catastrophes. These environmental outrages are not the bleeding heart sort supported by flower children in days of yore – in fact they are at the very core of our way of life.

If we do not commit ourselves to fighting for the province, who will? I personally look at my nine grandchildren and my great granddaughter and conclude that this destruction can’t happen on my watch – at least not without me giving everything I have to the fight.

Let’s all join as British Columbians to send a message to Ottawa that will at least be heard in the House of Commons.

If we do that, we’re in with a chance.

If we don’t, thank God we won’t be still alive when future generations of British Columbians will look back at us with the scorn we so justly earned.

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