Vote Your Conscience – Don’t Vote Strategically
As published in the Victoria Standard: June 23, 2014
Yesterday’s dismal Ontario voter turnout of 45 percent brings to mind the tired cliché, “you get the government you deserve,” It should actually read, “I get the government you deserve.” I say this because I’ve never voted for any of Canada’s dominant and largely interchangeable provincial and federal parties. Particularly disturbing is the fact that Stephen Harper, Tim Hudak and their supporters enjoy the delusion that the biosphere is part of the economy, rather than the opposite. The McGinty Liberals, in spite of their scandals; at least acknowledged the necessity of developing energy alternatives to fossil fuels like Alberta’s tar sands. Beyond that, could a Green government really do any worse than what we’ve seen over the last 30 years?
This apathy expresses itself in peoples’ isolating and passive fascination with celebrity worship, professional sport, reality television and reflexive consumerism.The alternative to such isolating practices is communal engagement and regular participation in various forms of social activism. Such action takes time and patience but serves to remind people that they are not alone in their convictions. All the great changes in history were not the work of “great leaders” but rather the cumulative effect of organized and dedicated grassroots workers.
Here’s a challenging post-election question: if current and past provincial and federal governments largely ignore the interests of working people, whose interests are they serving and why?
Widespread voter apathy has been caused mainly by the public belief that government serves the interests of working people only if those interests coincide with the needs of concentrated economic power in the form of corporations. Corporate tax cuts have not created jobs; at least not in Canada.