I admit it. I voted for Jack Layton.
But no, I did not vote for Peter Thurley even though I live in Kitchener Centre. Nothing against Peter. He’s a great guy with a demonstrated commitment to our community. Yet I could never vote for him in this election even though we’ve become friends through social media.
I voted for Jack Layton in 2006 when I lived in his Toronto-Danforth riding. Why? He was the candidate most likely to be able to stop Stephen Harper from forming a government or at least keep him to a minority. He also represented a progressive vision of Canada. I could have voted Liberal because I always had but I didn’t want to take the risk that the progressive vote would be split and allow the Harper candidate to be elected. The fact that he was the leader of a major political party also influenced my decision.
The biggest factor in my decision was my experience trying to prevent and end the disruptive right wing policies enacted in Ontario by the Mike Harris government. I always called upon people who rejected that narrow, selfish, authoritarian approach to government to coalesce around an alternative that ensured we had a government that actively cared for everyone regardless of demographics or political ideology. I wanted people to vote for the candidate in their riding who had the best chance of keeping the far right from controlling Ontario–no matter which party they represented. So in 2006, I voted for Jack Layton and the NDP because I believed it was important to walk the talk.
In the 2011 federal election, I urge you to follow my lead and vote for the candidate in your riding that has the best chance of unseating the Harper government–a government that reflects only a minority of Canadians but one that acts as if it has a majority whether it does or not. Reject Stephen Harper and his bullying tacts.
Vote for a vision of a gentler, kinder Canada. Vote for a Canada that puts the needs of Canadians before right wing ideology. Vote for a future for Canada that ensures my children and their peers grow up to live in a Canada where we look out for each other, have universal healthcare and take care of our environment.
In Waterloo Region, the choice is clear. Vote Liberal.
We had two of the closest races in Canada in 2008. A single vote for Karen Redman in Kitchener Centre or Andrew Telegdi in Kitchener-Waterloo can make a very real difference in the result of these local races and shift the balance of power in Ottawa. It is also clear that the alternative in Cambridge is Bryan May, Bob Rosehart in Kitchener-Conestoga and Frank Valeriote in nearby Guelph. I’ve worked alongside May he’s a stand up guy who will be an excellent representative. Rosehart’s record as president of Laurier and Telegdi and Valeriote’s record as MP speak loudly. I have already indicated why you should share Karen Redman as my choice in Kitchener Centre.
I realize that what I’m asking is difficult medicine to for many of you to swallow. I respect that you want to vote with your convictions and the party that most closely represents your world view. There are many good reasons why you should, so go ahead. But be prepared to accept the consequences of your decision especially if Harper’s candidates in Kitchener Centre and Kitchener-Waterloo squeak by and help Harper secure a majority government that allows for him to remake Canada in his vision without any moderation by representatives of the majority of Canadians.
As I write, it is Easter weekend. I am sure that it is no coincidence that the advance polls fall on Easter weekend. The only party that benefits from a low voter turnout is Stephen Harper’s party. If you have made your decision–especially if you are a college or university student who may find it difficult to vote on May 2, I recommend that you vote in an advanced poll that are open Friday (April 22), Saturday (April 23) or Monday (April 25). Your location is on the back of your voter card (which incidentally you don’t need to vote) or available from Elections Canada.
Let’s join together to elect a government that belongs to all Canadians and not the Harper government that reflects the will of one man. Let’s work together to build a Canada that celebrates all Canadians and supports their efforts to secure the best quality of life possible. Rise up Canada!