October 14, 2015 - 4:30 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Stephen Harper says strategic voting doesn’t really exist but Just The Facts Canada Inc. says it does and it is using a full-page ad in the Globe & Mail newspaper to get the message out.
The pitch by the strategic voting group includes a call for Liberal supporters in three Southern Interior ridings to drop their candidate in favour of the NDP.
“The time is past for political posturing,” the ad reads, appealing directly to the leaders of the Liberals, NDP and Greens ahead of the Oct. 19 election. "Seventy per cent of Canadians do not want to be governed by the Conservative Party of Canada. Removing Mr. Harper from office can be facilitated by asking the three of you to make a choice for Canada and work cooperatively in strategic ridings. Your policy platforms are similar enough that the majority of Canadians would agree with your respective positions.”
The ad cites the polling of threehundredeight.com as the source for its conclusions and is signed by Victor L. Marks, chairman of Just The Facts Canada Inc.
The ad lists 20 ridings where they say the NDP is competitive and another 50 where the Liberals are a credidble contender against incumbent Conservatives. None of the Liberal ridings are in B.C.
Bill Sundhu, the NDP candidate in Kamloops-Thompson Cariboo, saw the Globe & Mail ad and says he’s not surprised to hear of strategic voting in his riding given how close his party came in the last federal election.
“We finished a strong second with nearly 38 per cent of the vote. We had seven times the votes of the Liberals and Greens. I’ve heard for quite some time that people are considering voting strategically.”
Sundhu says he’s running a strong campaign and will welcome anyone’s vote, regardless of political stripe, if it means getting rid of Prime Minister Harper and the incumbent Conservative Party.
“Two-thirds of Canadians are progressive. People want progressive change. We have run a strong campaign so I’m cautiously optimistic.”
Sundhu says he has no expectation that any of his opponents will withdraw, although he counts volunteers from all three parties amongst his campaign crew.
Liberal Cindy Derkaz, up against Conservative Mel Arnold in North Okanagan-Shuswap, is leary of both the Just The Facts Canada website and polling numbers that put NDP rival Jacqui Gingras ahead of her.
“There’s obviously significant money behind it, with a full page ad. It’s a pretty skimpy website and I don’t know whose behind it and how they reached their conclusions so it’s hard to comment.”
Derkaz insists the Liberals are competitive in the riding and are surging on the strength of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s own surge in the national polls.
“We’re pushing very hard and are moving ahead steadily. People see that Justin Trudeau and Liberals are the only party offering real change. We’re seeing voters firming up very nicely behind that.”
Conservative Cathy McLeod, the incumbent Sundhu is trying to beat, dismissed strategic voting as disrespectful of the whole democratic process and unlikely to play a role on Oct. 19.
“There’s a lot of energy and effort put in by candidates and I think strategic voting goes against that. I’ve never had anybody mention it when I’m on people’s doorsteps.”
Just The Facts Canada is also calling on Liberal supporters of Connie Deneisuk to cast their votes for NDP’s Richard Cannings in South Okanagan-West Kootenay. Cannings did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015