A lot of people are like me and don’t like to discuss their vote.
In 2011 I was blithely convinced by my Facebook feed that everyone agreed with me and there was no way Stephen Harper was going to win. Then, with the support of 24% of eligible voters, he won a majority. Have you seen this video?
I don’t want that to happen again.
So this time I’m not being so shy.
You can vote for whomever you like, but here in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, I’m supporting Bob D’Eith and the New Democratic Party.
In a nutshell, I think he has a great balance of advocacy experience, understanding of local Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge issues and 25 years of law. I also have a lot of respect for a man who raises 5 kids. When you meet Bob, you can tell immediately that he is in this for the right reasons. He is going to bring our community to Ottawa and not the other way round.
But don’t take my word for it, listen to what he had to say at the first all candidates event at the Maple Ridge Senior’s Centre on September 27th, 2015 (hosted by the City of Maple Ridge in a really positive initiative–thank you!). It’s about 7 minutes long and includes his introduction, answers to a few questions, and his closing remarks. I apologise I wasn’t able to provide the wording of the questions, but I think he puts his answers into context very well.
A lot of people are concerned about vote-splitting. In 2011, a majority of Canadians voted for someone besides the Conservative Party, but the result was a Conservative majority in Parliament. It’s a real concern with 4 parties and one independent in the race. In fact, if I were passionately supportive of the Green, Liberal or Independent candidate, I would be pretty annoyed that my vote would probably be wasted. Look at the 2011 results for this riding:
The good news is, as I said in my last political post, there is every sign that the Liberals, Greens and NDP are all willing to work together.
The other good news is that Bob D’Eith is a very, very strong candidate and the NDP is a strong, reasonable party.
Now, I recognize that some people have concerns about the NDP which are rooted in the past. The fear of the Red Menace was something I experienced in my own house growing up. However, everything I’ve heard from them has been reasonable and well-thought out. I think the goal of balancing the budget right away may be too ambitious, but I’m looking forward to seeing them try. The economists tell us that, in a recession, it is normal to run a deficit and stimulate the economy, so if they do, it won’t kill anybody.
If you feel that voting for Bob would be a strategic vote and you just can’t put your heart into it, may I suggest teaming up with another voter in another riding? There are ridings in Canada where the party with the best chance of beating the Harper candidate is Liberal or Green. What if an NDP supporter in one of those ridings agreed to vote for your party in return for you voting for Bob here? You wouldn’t have to “hold your nose when you vote”!
One of the organizations that can help you do this is Vote Together. It works by e-mail. You pledge to vote on someone else’s behalf in return for your vote doing the most good somewhere else. Simple idea, right? It worked well for Elizabeth May in 2011. If you wanted to vote Green, you could send your vote to her riding and get her elected!
On the other hand, you can go the easy route and vote for Bob D’Eith. He and Tom Mulcair are easy to support.
If you have read any of our story, you will know that I’m all about investing now to save in the future. Don’t waste all the energy and materials of an existing home by knocking it down and building a new one–retrofit it! The NDP address this point in their “Building Affordable and Efficient Housing” plan. In part, it says:
The NDP recognizes that access to affordable housing – and the ability to afford to heat and maintain your home – is essential for all Canadians. Our plan will invest in green and affordable housing by:
Introducing a green home energy program to help retrofit at least 50,000 homes and apartment buildings.
- Through an initial investment of $200 million over four years, this initiative will help make homes and apartment buildings more efficient, which will lower energy bills, create thousands of jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We will create additional sustainable jobs by re-introducing and expanding the home renovation tax credit, to create incentives for individuals and companies to make their homes and businesses more efficient and accessible by installing high-efficiency insulation, solar heating and electricity, energy-efficient appliances, and accessibility upgrades. And we will unleash an army of carpenters, electricians and contractors to take outdated and leaky public buildings – schools, universities and hospitals – and plug the leaks that increase greenhouse gases and costs. These changes alone will reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent nationwide.
Can’t afford it? It seems to me this is called working together for the long-term prosperity of our country and if taxes have to rise on large corporations and the wealthiest Canadians and we have to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, that is a price that these groups should be willing to pay for a healthy, resilient economy. (There is little evidence to support, for example, the idea that low corporate taxes create jobs.)
Stephen Harper seems to have a carrot and stick approach to winning votes which has something to do with bribing us with minor tax cuts and scaring us with xenophobic fear-mongering. We all know that my $10 doesn’t buy very much, but if I get 100 of my friends together we’ve got $1000. That’s the whole point of taxes! As for the other thing, I thought Canada was a free country, wear whatever the heck you want!
And another thing–the NDP are proposing a national childcare strategy. Great idea! Our kids are in school now, but before they were 5 years old, we had to find childcare in order to work. It made more sense for one of us to stay home with the kids because the cost of childcare was so high. It was nerve-wracking finding a good local childcare centre. Costs varied and so did quality. I’m still working part-time which means I can pick the kids up from school at 2:20 every day. I’m okay with that, but I also feel I don’t have enough good options. The NDP plan will allow parents to get back to work much more easily.
I could go on, but you can read the whole platform here. And if you don’t like certain elements of it, remember that the key in government is collaboration. An experienced, positive MP like Bob D’Eith will be able to bring your concerns to the table and help to build a consensus among the whole of Parliament. For example, don’t reject him just because the NDP promised to balance the budget and you think that is unrealistic.
Finally, I have one more video for you from the all-candidates event. This time it includes all five candidates in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge. The public were invited to submit questions via facebook beforehand and mine was chosen (yay me!). In this clip you can hear each candidate’s 1-minute answer. My question was, “In your opinion, how important is science and research in government? Will you work to restore access of the media and the Canadian public to government-funded research?”
The candidates are, from left to right: Dan Ruimy, Liberal Party, Peter Tam, Green Party, Bob D’Eith, New Democratic Party, Mike Murray, Conservative Party, Steve Ranta, Independent.
What really struck me, watching this, was how closed off Mike Murray, the Conservative candidate was to the problem, and how prepared he was with a very Harper-esque dismissal. The curtailing of government scientists’ access to the public began in 2006 but it was Bill C-38 in 2013 that had scientists in lab coats marching in Ottawa (scientists don’t typically march in protest). The intervening time has allowed Harper’s candidates to roll their eyes and act as if the problem were so yesterday or, in this case, “a tired old narrative.”
Murray then says, essentially, that since the scientists are still creating a whole lot of reports and stuff and the government is spending a lot of money on science that means that all of those marching scientists and journalists don’t know what they are talking about.
Following Murray, as if it was planned, was Steve Ranta, who is not constrained by a national platform or party to represent and simply tells his truth. It’s a beautiful moment. Muzzle that, Harper!
Tom Mulcair in Maple Ridge!
New Democratic Party leader Tom Mulcair visited Bob’s campaign office on Monday, October 12, 2015. There was no vetting; I walked right in and found a place on one side. As the room filled up, they had to make more room. I found a good spot but ended up holding the camera above my head for 20 minutes, which was a little painful (that’s why there are a couple of breaks in the video). In this video you can see the room fill up, Bob introduce Tom, Tom give his stump speech and then take questions in English and French from National media. Warning, it’s 17 minutes long!
So there it is, folks! If I made it a little easier to vote in this election, please let me know. This is a very important election and if you need help getting to the polls or more information, please let me know that, too.
Most importantly, of course, please vote! I did the first chance I got.
If you are not registered or haven’t received a voter card, go to the Elections Canada website and check. Remember that you can vote by simply turning up at the polling place with the right identification, but it is easier if you are registered. I’ve heard that if you live on a First Nation Reserve, the Elections Canada website may not recognize your postal code. I hope that just deepens your resolve to vote!