I like the Green Party's policies and national leader and local candidate. The party best represents my values as a citizen and the local candidate is a nice guy. So I am disappointed that I can’t in good conscience vote for the Green Party under our “First Past the Post” voting system in the Courtenay – Alberni riding.
The Conservative candidate won here in 2011 with 46% of the vote. NDP were next with %38, followed by the Liberals at %7.5 and the Greens at %6.8. A proportional representation voting system that many European countries use would have meant representation for the %54 of our voters who did not want or choose our current MP or our current government. The Liberals, NDP and Green party platforms all say they will bring legislation forward to create a more democratic system of voting than First Past the Post if elected. The Conservative party position is that they may put it to a referendum. With the Conservatives, the soonest we could be rid of First Past the Post would be two elections from now.
Under Stephen Harper, Conservatives have proven to be a destructive crew. Because of the closure of the Coast Guard base in Kitsilano, the Coast Guard did not have on hand the resources to immediately deal with the bunker fuel spill in English Bay in the spring. Prior to the closure, a spill response boat with enough boom material to encircle the freighter spilling the fuel was based in Kitsilano. At the time of the spill, the response boat was moth balled at a dock in Richmond. Our conservative MP at the time, James Lunney, did not speak out against the degradation of Coast Guard response on our coast.
Macleans magazine recently ran a report on the loss of up to %60 of scientific data gathered over decades dealing with the environment. That data was paid for by Canadian tax payers, but because of recent budget cuts and conservative government policy decisions, 12 government libraries have been closed across the country since 2012. Much of the un-digitized data in the form of books, journals and data sets has actually been thrown into dumpsters, sent to recycling centers and turned into pulp. The loss of baseline data such as this means our scientific community cannot do basic research. As a country we are now operating blind in a very real sense.
Two polls conducted on behalf of the Dogwood Initiative in the Courtenay – Alberni riding in May and then in September show support for the Conservative candidate on the rise. The Conservatives are now at %25, the NDP at %30 and the Green at %11. With two days to go until the election, the Conservatives could win here again. That is a frightening prospect. So until Canadians are rid of the un-democratic First Past the Post system – I can’t vote for the party I want. I have to vote for the one that has a chance to stop and hopefully reverse destructive Conservative policies.