ABCs of wacky voting

Sometimes you need a bad pun to weather the eyestrain-inducing national polls

It’s blue and red neck-and-neck, with orange fading fast.

Or, it’s red and blue neck-and-neck and orange falling slowly.

Or, it’s blue expanding its lead over red and orange dropping like the loonie.

Or, it’s red with an increasing lead over blue, with orange losing its a-peel.

Sometimes you need a bad pun to weather the eyestrain-inducing national polls that seem to be released every time a leader burps.

Abacus Data, Nanos, Ekos, Ipsos Reid, Légere Marketing, Forum Research — there might be as many polling firms as there are candidates in the 338 ridings nationwide.

But, can we trust the polls in these days of dying landlines and an extreme aversion to 1-800 numbers that do filter through to the old home phone?

When polling numbers failed miserably in the April 2012 election in Quebec, the September 2012 election in Alberta and the May 2013 election in B.C., it appeared the only trustworthy Angus Reid was the former centre for the B.C. Lions — when he was healthy.

Then again, polls were on the mark in this year’s Alberta election, which produced the unthinkable — a New Democrat government in the free-enterprise capital of Canada.

If — if — the latest national polls are on target, we are looking at a photo finish between Stephen Harper’s Conservatives and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, resulting in a minority government with Thomas Mulcair’s New Democrats ready to be courted.

Prominent during this election campaign has been nauseating attacks.

Actually, Trudeau just may be ready. Harper is not evil personified. And, Mulcair is no more a career politician than any other MP with at least the magic six years of service that opens a life-long bank account.

Also prominent during this campaign has been the vocal ABC movement — Anybody But Conservatives.

The strategy from the Hate Harper brigade is to have non-Conservative voters cast a ballot for the candidate of the party that has the best chance to win in their riding.

(While these ABC advocates will tell all who will listen that “everybody” wants change in Ottawa, polling would suggest otherwise.)

The ABC faction has websites that suggest where NDP/Liberal voters should park their vote in the quest, but such an approach may create unintended results.

Here in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding, popular belief is that the race is between Conservative Cathy McLeod and New Democrat Bill Sundhu, though Steve Powrie’s Liberal team members whose knuckles are raw from door-knocking will tell you we all might be in for a surprise come Oct. 19.

Nevertheless, think about it: If Liberal and Green supporters jump on the ABC train to back the NDP locally, and if national polling is correct, Kamloopsians would go from having a government MP (and the significant funding that has been brought to town) to electing an MP sitting in the third tier of benches in Ottawa, looking up at the Official Opposition and government MPs.

The elimination of the per-vote subsidy (until the 2011 election, registered political parties received $2.04 per vote if they garnered a certain percentage of support) has killed at least one  incentive to cast a ballot for a candidate with no shot at winning.

It has also contributed to that all-too-Canadian pastime of voting against something rather than for something.

Here’s a novel thought: Why not read the party platforms and talk to the four Kamloops candidates and vote for the person and party you believe will best serve your household and Canada?

Christopher Foulds is editor of Kamloops This Week