Splitting the vote could return Harper to power

BRANT — The way the Canadian voting system works can sometimes come down to basic mathematics. Even though there are other alternatives like the Green Party and a few others, these are votes that actually help the Conservatives retain power.

Whenever for a majority incumbent, in this case, Harper’s Conservatives, the more opposition parties and independents there are in the race the better.

This is a message to those readers who consider themselves Canadians, because you can’t vote unless you are born or declare yourself to be a Canadian.

For numbers sake, let’s use the results from the last federal election in 2011 that returned Harper to the PMs role with a majority government. That means that his party gleaned more regional seats than all the opposition combined.

At least with a minority government Harper was kept relatively under check, but with a majority, he has a Carte Blanch leadership role without the Liberals and NDP snapping at their heels.

Locally, in 2011, incumbent Phil McColeman won the riding with 3,402 votes representing 48.9% of those who voted in the Brant riding. Next was Marc Laferriere for the NDPs with 16,351 votes for 28.5% of the riding votes. In last place were the Liberals with Lloyd St. Amand attracting 10,780 votes for 18.8%.

Together, the NDP, Liberal, Green and independent candidates earned 50.4% of the votes. That means 49.6% of the voters in the riding want McColeman and the Conservatives in power. Actually, the majority did not want a Conservative MP. But that is how the system works. The party wins that gets the most votes on the ballot.

Even if you really like a local representative whose name appears on the ballot, but hate the federal party they represent, one is stuck. In this case, a vote for McColeman, who very well may be a good guy on a personal level, is also a vote for Harper, who may not be.

The Conservatives have taken a PR ass-kicking lately over Harper’s hell-bent-for-leather crusade on behalf of “big oil” and “big international conglomerates” at the expense of local, regional and even national Canadian businesses, and the health and wellbeing of Canada itself.

The Liberals, in our estimation, have shot themselves in the foot over the last two elections by putting in place a national leader with the personality of an old dishrag. This time, they have a leader with a very big name recognition factor, which is also important in an election, but Mr. Trudeau Jr., has not emerged as the dynamic leader his father used to be and can’t seem to find his own place out of the shadow of Pierre-Elliott, both with those who liked P.E.T. and those who did not.

More locally, if one wants to talk about a leader not ready, it would have to be Danielle Takacs. She is a newbie who still seems uncomfortable in the role she has been asked to play, but the experience will do her a world of good next time around.

Without doubt, the Mulcair NDPs have also noted the state of the local Conservative and Liberal candidates and have put resources towards the Brant riding, in a concerted effort to return the telephone city and its neighbours to the fold. Mulcair has been to the Brant riding seven times, and twice in the past few weeks alone to support Laferriere.

What has changed? Brant/Brantford used to be an NDP stronghold and the riff between themselves and trade unions has sufficiently healed. This time, with the blue collar vote returning, and if those Six Nations and New Credit voters go orange again this time the Native vote could easily make the difference.

Last election, Six Nations/New Credit ballots showed 169 NDP votes, 40 PC votes and 1 Liberal vote.

We do not encourage those who do not participate in a foreign election to do so, however, those who do are encouraged to keep in mind which party has dedicated itself to fixing some of the troubled relationships and long standing land claims between Onkwehonwe people and Canada, and which have promised but have not followed through after the election. Only one has not reneged.

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