So much for the Secret Ballot

I’m throwing my lot in with Tenth to the Fraser here, and am supporting Fin Donnelly this election.

To many people who know me only from this Blog, that is probably not a surprise. I come across as a soft leftie big-government tax-and-spend environmental whack job (or so I am told). However, it is a surprise to most people who know me, including myself.

I have never voted NDP in my life, and I have voted in every federal election since 1988 (When I voted for the PCs, who with the benefit of hindsight, were the most progressive Government on the environment in my lifetime). With elections in 1993, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, and 2008, along with one Federal by-election (that I can recall voting in) and 4 Provincial Elections (I didn’t vote in 2001 as I was living in the States), that is 11 chances, and I have never taken the Orange pill.
Part of the reason for this is that I was raised in a Big C Conservative household. My Dad, especially, was never too comfortable with the “Progressive” tag in the PC name, and proudly lined up to vote for Robert Stanfield against Trudeau three times. The ironic part of this is that every time I suggest perhaps Stephen Harper is not the best thing ever to happen to Canada, my Father’s reflex false dichotomy argument is to accuse me of “loving Jack”. So telling my Dad, in his 70th year, that I voted for Jack is going to hurt. This picture will no doubt disappoint:
Sorry Dad. I guess the Canucks playoff beard doesn’t help, eh? 
Another reason is that the last Party of which I was a member was the Green Party of Canada. I joined after meeting Marshall Smith, who ran for New Westminster-Coquitlam, and have helped Rebecca Helps in the subsequent by-election. My membership is now lapsed (which hasn’t stopped the relentless flow of spam), although I still think the Greens may have the best platform on balance. There is a lot more there that I agree with than things I don’t (although there is still much of the latter). This election, however, the Greens have decided to put all of their effort into one and a half ridings, and have essentially abandoned the idea of being a national party. I also have concerns that the “Green” brand has taken that party as far as it is going to go, and they have to do some serious soul-searching about how they plan to break past the 7% ceiling they have hit. Locally, Rebecca was a great candidate during the by-election, and has her heart in the right place, but has herself moved on to Victoria to work for the Provincial Greens, and has had a pretty lacklustre campaign locally.
That said, the biggest challenge the New Westminster-Coquitlam Greens have is Fin Donnelly. The NDP have a hit-and-miss record on the environment, partly (in my uninformed opinion) because of their traditional labour support (so Union Jobs will always come before environmental stewardship), and partly because their response to Climate Change (the “Cap and Trade” method) is simply wrong. Nonetheless, Fin rises above the balance of the party on the Environment file. His unrelenting advocacy for the protection of the Fraser River and wild Pacific Salmon is approaching legend status. He is as “green” as any NDP candidate gets.
In his short 16-months as MP, he has demonstrated an exceptional work ethic. For a new MP in a third-place party, his record is substantial: he has brought 6 private members bills forward, two on environmental issues, and has worked across parties to advance these initiatives. He has held town hall meetings here at home to connect his constituents to Ottawa. He is the only local senior-government politician who is impolite enough to mention that Evergreen has not really been built yet.
I can personally vouch for his constituent support. A couple of friends and I were working on a difficult local environment issue, and were able to arrange a meeting with Fin to discuss the issue. He took the time to listen to our concerns, gave us some insight into the politics of the issue, and provided some really useful suggestions. He also took the time to provide useful insight into the UBE issue that has a Federal component (as that is where some of the money comes from). He has worked in Ottawa, and he has worked in the community. That is what I want from an MP.

So today I decided to attend the Jack Layton rally in Burnaby. Notably, I am not and NDP member, nor have I ever supported the NDP, but I had not problem joining the crowd at this rally (hear that Stephen?). And it was as pumped up a crowd as I have seen since I saw the Tragically Hip play at the House of Blues in Vegas. Following the tried-and-true campaign tactic of ordering a room about 10% too small for the crowd you anticipate, the NDP missed the goal here, as there were more people outside rallying than there were inside. It was so packed inside that even Adrian Dix couldn’t get a front-row seat. Jack was on message, and full of energy, and made sure to point out, in English and in French, that the Quebec breakthrough makes this an election like no other.

Jack was so full of energy, I would have needed a faster camaera to catch him…
The Rally was so crowded, even those who should have had some pull
seemed to have a hard time getting close to the stage.
So I guess I am on the Orange Wave. The polls, if they are to be trusted, are suggesting that the NDP may beat the Liberals. I’m not sure the popular vote surge is going to result in enough seats to make Jack Prime Minister in our first-past-the-post system, but predictions are not worth much this year. Monday Night’s Vote Party will be fun, and it will be a nail biter.

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