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Election? All hands on deck to defeat Harper

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The Harper Conservatives presented their budget today. From the initial reaction of the opposition, it looks like a spring election is likely. The opposition remains behind in the polls but the situation is very fluid. Catch 22 has been "harpering" away for over a year about the government's many abuses of power and the need to advance, not regress, democracy in Canada. The reaction to the prorogation in 2010 showed that many Canadians do care about fairness, co-operation, competence and democracy.

Some interesting polling

Steve Val reports for Oye! Times on the latest Nanos poll which asked people about some of the top issues.

Conservatives hold a tentative lead in polls, Nik Nanos:

First, consider that the economy as a voter priority has no fallen to its lowest level since the recession began... Given the economy is the last remaining Conservative strongsuit, less importance equates to greater risk.

People are always concerned about the economy but the reality is that voters can actually focus on more than one concern at a time. For example, there is a high expectation among Canadians that their government would do something meaningful about curbing greenhouse gas emissions. There is also a growing resentment toward pork-barrelling and wasteful spending by the federal government. A million here. A billion there. A few more billion and it really adds up. The price tag will be paid by us and by future generations while corporations continue to receive subsidies and enormous tax cuts.

Even a majority (56 per cent) of voters who identified themselves as Conservative supporters oppose the acquisition (of the F-35s - ed). And three out of four undecided voters are opposed...

Sixty-eight per cent of Canadians agreed that "now is not a good time" to proceed with the $16-billion purchase of the F-35 fighter aircraft...

The "F" in F-35 could help spell "f-a-i-l-u-r-e" for the Cons

The Harper Conservative Top Guns can be defeated in the next election if anti-Harper voters in swing ridings can effectively use their votes. In some ridings that means defeating a Conservative. In other ridings it means trying to prevent a Con from succeeding.The key to Canadian elections is at the local level -- 308 separate election races where success or failure is sometimes decided by a relative handful of votes (e.g. 17 votes in Kitchener-Waterloo).

But there are many pitfalls

If voters fall prey to the "one size fits all" vote-splitting being promoted by all the political parties, Harper's chances of re-election increase. Catch 22's strategy is to support the candidate with the best chance of success, regardless of their party affiliation.

We will not spend our energy trying to persuade loyal partisans to abandon their party of choice. That is their right and it should be respected. There are enough other voters to talk to and motivate including those who are less likely to vote, like younger voters. Nor will we make demands on the opposition which they are going to ignore. Catch 22 is independent of all political parties, campaigns and candidates.

Only voter power can overcome the pitfalls of our voting system

Canada's antiquated voting system encourages antagonism, not co-operation. Our appeal minimize vote-splitting must be directed to the voters, not to the parties. With 4 or 5 self-interested parties in play, the Cons only need to finesse enough split votes to win enough ridings to maintain power or even improve their position.

We can use Catch 22 voter power to stop them. Five years of Stephen Harper is enough already! The country has to be pulled back from the brink. We, and many others, have spent the last year (and longer) highlighting Harper's many abuses of power along with a host of other issues. Now, with an election looming, it's time for "all hands on deck." It's time to translate the anti-Harper vote into a victory at the polls.

If you believe that a targeted campaign can make a difference, help us to implement our plan. We intend to communicate with target voters using flyers, phone calls and other activities. Please get involved with the Catch 22 campaign.

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Cross-posted from Catch 22 Harper Conservatives as Campaign Update #8 (March 23) with the following message to our members:

Coming later this week -- Part 2: The Catch 22 plan and how you can help. In the meantime, crank up the campaign by reading our FAQ, spreading the word, joining an online riding group (there are now 39) and/or donating $22 (or more). You can also bone up on why Harper needs to be dumped by checking out "Why Stop Harper? -- 100 Reasons to defeat him." We will have a longer list of volunteer activities available in short order. If you have organizing and coordinating experience that you can share with the campaign, drop us an email. We are all volunteers and to date, have been funded strictly by individual donations. We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

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