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Memo to Ontario NDP Supporters
02/06/2004

A few days ago, Kevin Brennan predicted that fears of a Conservative government would cause a backlash that would result in NDP voters bailing out and, ultimately, another Liberal majority.

Now, it took just one day for a new poll to begin to change Kevin's mind. However, his prediction has gone mainstream as Globe and Mail columnist John Barber reports signs of it actually beginning to happen.

Now, I've never voted NDP in my life, nor do I expect to this time. I'm not particularly eager to have a Stephen Harper government, either. Nevertheless, I'd like to urge local NDPers to stick with their team.

There are several reasons to keep confidence:

  • The Princple: If you believe in the NDP, you should vote for them. The Liberals may throw some promises your way to win your vote now, but their recent record shows that they won't do much on the issues of importance to you. Better to remain determined and show them that you mean it. If they can't take your vote for granted, they'll take you more seriously in the future.
  • Harper isn't so scary, part 1: Look, it is very unlikely he is going to form a majority government. And in a minority with three left-leaning parties, he won't be able to do anything very dramatic. For example, no matter how eager he is to "bring 'em on", he wouldn't be able to take us to war without the support of the other parties.
  • Harper isn't so scary, part 2: We've been scarred by the Harris years, but Stephen Harper can't do much to our public services, especially with a Liberal in Queen's Park. That's where the important services are anyway. The worst he can do is cut federal taxes and transfers as part of plan whereby the provinces would raise their taxes to compensate. In this case, Ontario would have more money, not less. (Now, if you don't live in Ontario or Alberta, then you have reason to be concerned.)
  • If your riding is either going to go Liberal or NDP, voting for your preferred party isn't going to help the Conservatives a whole lot.
  • The most likely outcome remains a Liberal minority. In that case, if you're an NDP supporter, you'll really be very happy you elected an NDP MP.
  • And, if there is Conservative minority, wouldn't you rather have your preferred party deciding whether or not to support a Harper motion in Parliament?

We are going to have another Liberal government someday. It may be now, or it may be in a few years. One way or another they need to be trained that they can't take voters for granted.


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