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Is strategic voting worthwhile in the Ontario election?

Photo: Paul Schreiber/Flickr

On the eve of election day, I asked around to find out what people felt about strategic voting. In this case, I meant "ABC" -- anyone but conservative.

This drastic call comes because of who the Progressive Conservative leadership candidate is: Doug Ford.

The NDP have a new meaning behind their acronym: "No Doug Please."

The Ford empire has dominated politics of late, especially when Doug Ford's deceased brother was Toronto's mayor. A man of many flaws, he embarrassed all of Canada with his addiction and use of many substances, the most shocking of all crack cocaine.

I'm sure some emotions in response to Doug Ford are actually about his brother, but such is politics where the two brothers often tag-teamed during Toronto city hall sessions.

Known for their tough-on-crime agenda at city hall, which married a wealth of political training in the dynastic family with an everyman feel, Doug Ford has declared that a vote for him in this  election is a vote to make "Ontario Great Again" -- a hard-right rallying cry.

Doug Ford had unsuccessfully run for mayor in Canada's largest city but some polls place him in a distinct lead over NDP's Andrea Horwath who trails behind in second place. The Liberals, victims of their own long tenure, ride in at third place.

In an attempt to prevent Doug Ford from being our next Ontario premier, strategic voting has caught many people's attention this year, reminiscent of when Stephen Harper was running as Canada's prime minister against Justin Trudeau.

People who I asked about the feasibility of strategic voting gave mixed comments.

Gord Cawsey discusses how seriously he took the decision: "it's a tough one...I flirted with voting LPO [Liberal Party] this election because the incumbent has been in for 12 years and I figure that has some weight, but ultimately I voted early and went with the NDP....no way I want Ontario's most senior elected politician to be Doug freakin' Ford."

Amy Brown posting for a friend has an answer which strategically breaks down that having each party win something makes the transition to power smoother. "Please vote NDP. Looking at stats, there is about a 25 per cent chance of an NDP minority (the other chances are PC majority/minority). An NDP minority would depend on the cooperation of the Liberals in order to get things through the house, so strategically this is also the best way for your party to have some power. "

Brown gives more explanation of voting strategically, stating, "I'm voting NDP. Voting Liberal is not an option for my conscience at this juncture, and when the left lets itself be divided between Red and Orange (and a bit of green) it is the blue that wins."

But other people think strategic voting only plays into the hands of those, according to Dick Maquis, controlling the game and, "only helps those trying to hold power."

There was some serious hatred towards the Liberals for letting the party slide so far into this mess, Marquis also noted: "oh I HOPE and HOPE the Libs dont even keep their official party status... if they can't get 8 [seats] they are out...... best case scenario right there."

Polls have shown both that the PC party is well out in front and that the PCs and NDP are neck-and-neck. The possibility of a majority PC winning the race makes the thought of living in Ontario a scary and dangerous premise, much like how marginalized groups shivered when we found out that Trump was going to lead the U.S.

Time will only tell what becomes of Toronto, which will have a central role to play in determining what happens. 

Photo: Paul Schreiber/Flickr

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