The greatest victory of the Big Three parties in this country is that they have convinced Canadians there are no other alternatives at the ballot box.
If you’re like most voters in Canada, you haven’t ever considered voting for anyone outside the New Democrats, Liberals or Conservatives.
But I’m here to tell you: You don’t have to keep throwing your vote away on a mainstream party. There are plenty of other choices in most ridings. There is a better way.
People will, of course, say you are "wasting" your vote. They may actually believe this to be true.
My response is always, "You’re going to vote for the same parties that got us into the mess we’re in and it’s me who’s wasting his vote? I don’t think so."
Also, if you extend this logic to its absurd conclusion, it means that only those who cast votes in favour of a single party — the one that forms the government — aren’t wasting their votes. Theirs are the only votes that count in this twisted view of the electoral system.
I don’t buy it, either.
There’s also a strange side effect to voting for a non-mainstream party: You feel hopeful for a change.
I can’t tell you how refreshing that is.
I was once like you, there was a time when I supported the mainstream options.
However, I found I was doing so only to keep certain parties and leaders out of power. In other words, every vote I cast was a strategic one.
Eventually, I got sick of this. I felt abused by the Big Three, who hadn’t done a thing to earn my vote.
Remember what the definition of insanity is: Doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result.
So I started researching my options. I yearned to vote for a political organization, not against the rest of them.
Guess what? I’m a much happier voter today. Every vote I cast now is an idealistic one.
So don’t tell me I’m wasting anything.
It’s true it’s been years since I voted for a party that went on to form a government at the federal or provincial level.
But when the members of these governments go on to commit crimes (it’s inevitable, it seems), at least I know I was not the one who enabled them.
I suppose there are circumstances under which I would consider choosing a non-fringe candidate.
But why would a thinking person limit himself to only three possible options?
It’s only in politics where limited choices are considered a virtue. Would you allow yourself to watch only three television channels for the next four years?
I say let a thousand flowers bloom. Not just a measly three.
In a democracy, you don’t vote for the party that will do the most good, you vote for the one that will do the least harm.
So when you go to mark your ballot on October 19, please think about what’s at stake.
Do you want to be an accomplice to how the NDP, Liberals or Conservatives screw up this country in the years to come?
Or do you want the satisfaction of knowing you voted for a candidate whose beliefs actually align with yours?
You don’t owe any party your vote, but the Big Three are counting on you to act as if that were true.
And hey, if enough people agree with me, it won’t be long until we get what the lifetime politicians and party hacks always promise yet never deliver: change that means something.