Monday, September 15, 2008

How I Voted in 2006

In January 2006, I voted for the Conservative Party. I did so in Vancouver East, one of the most reliable NDP ridings in the country. In Jeff Wall's celebrated photos, some of it looks like this, which may explain why:

For the very first time in six elections, I failed to vote for the winning candidate and the winning party.

Why did I vote that way?

First, I was disgusted with the Liberals. They had threatened national unity by their dirty tricks in Quebec.

By contrast, the Conservative Party had made genuinely innovative proposals vis-a-vis Quebec, which still serve them well in that province.

Third, I was horrified by Paul Martin's vindictive treatment of old Chretien supporters, for instance pushing the old warhorse Sheila Copps out of her Hamilton riding, and Stephane Dion out of cabinet.

Fourth, I didn't think that the social yahoo-ism of some Conservatives would do any harm. Harper had promised a free vote on gay marriage, just as Brian Mulroney had promised a free vote on capital punishment in 1984. (For my friends in countries that don't have a Westminster style parliamentary democracy, a free vote is one where members of parliament are freed from party discipline, and are free to vote their own conscience. Since the Government has no stake in the issue, neither result counts as its losing the confidence of the House.) Capital punishment lost in 1984, and it went out of Canadian discourse. I was convinced that gay marriage would go the same way (and it has).

In a word, I was truly tired of the Liberals, and quite ready to see a grumpy old duffer, Paul Martin, leave.

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