In any given parliamentary election, be it federal or provincial, even though you are voting for only one person, you have to make three decisions:
- Does the candidate represent my views?
- Does the political party represent my views?
- Does the party leader represent my views?
Let me give you an example.
Suppose I love Party X, and I love Party X's leader, but I absolutely dislike my local candidate, John Q Public? What if I truly believe that the candidate doesn't best represent the ideals of the party? Who do I vote for? Do I have to hold my nose and vote for that character on the chance that that vote might make a difference?
You can obviously do the other permutations. Again, suppose I like the leader, and I like the candidate, but I absolutely cannot stand the policies of Party X. Who do I vote for? Or, suppose I like the candidate, the party, but cannot stand the leader. Do I vote for the candidate regardless, knowing potentially I could lend support to the leader to become Prime Minister?
And, I know we should vote for the candidate as the candidate ultimately represents your riding, but do you vote for the candidate that then follows party doctrine to the letter, despite the promises and the personality you believed in?
Let's take some concrete examples.
- You are a Liberal, and have been forever. You live in the riding of Pickering-Scarborough East and you support same-sex marriage, but MP Dan McTeague does not. You support Paul Martin and Liberal Party policy in general, but you do not support Mr. McTeague. In the next election, who do you vote for?
- You live in the riding of Churchill, Manitoba and you personally get along with MP Bev Desjarlais. You thinks she's the best MP in the world. You tolerate the NDP but you cannot stand Jack Layton. Who do you vote for?
- You live in the riding of Calgary Centre-North, with MP Jim Prentice. You like Jim as your MP, and you respect Stephen Harper. Conservative Party policy isn't your cup of tea though. Who do you vote for?
- You live in the riding of Gaspésie--Îles-de-la-Madeleine, with MP Raynald Blais. You respect M. Blais, and the Bloc Québécois in general. The Liberals have angered you to no end. You do not, however, believe in separatism. Who do you vote for?
Should we, at the same time as voting for a candidate, vote for the party leader? Every election say, at the same time you're voting for a candidate, the individual parties would put up three candidates to lead? That way, if you voted for your Party X candidate, you'd also be voting for the leader of Party Y, who may go on to win.
Tags: canada, democratic reform, parliament, politics