By now you've heard that the next federal election will be on Monday, May 2. Despite talk of it being "unwanted", I feel it's long overdue.

The first and most important thing is that you should vote. Elections Canada has good information on how to do that. You can vote early, by mail (as I will), or on Election Day itself. In the latter case, you are entitled by law to three hours off work, 100% consequence-free, in which to go cast your ballot. Mark your calendar. The turnout in 2008 was 59.1%, which was embarrassing enough. The same turnout would be even more shameful this May, when people will still (presumably) be catching bullets in the Middle East from governments they would prefer to elect.

The lineup at your polling station will be shorter than the one you may have stood in to buy the latest Apple device, concert ticket, or Boxing Day doorcrasher. If you have a well-articulated, principled reason for not supporting any candidate in your riding, go in anyway to spoil the ballot. There is really no good excuse to not show up.

Next—to deliver on an idea I've made some noise about in past months, this entry introduces a daily series of very short1 posts on why you should not vote for the Conservative candidate (if there is one) in your riding. There will be one reason per day. Your suggestions (in the comments) are welcome.

I don't intend to tell you who to vote for. That's a difficult question, and there are many ways to justify a vote for someone. However, one reason to vote against someone is to fire them. Our Members of Parliament are sent to Ottawa and paid well to do a specific job: govern the country. They delegate some of this responsibility to the civil service (Elections Canada, for example), but the elected representatives are ultimately responsible. If they prove irresponsible, that is a very solid reason to replace them.

My method here will be to survey the evidence that the Government (i.e. sitting Conservatives, the Ministers among them, and the Prime Minister) has either been not governing or governing badly2 for the last five years, and ought to be fired. I will not convince you, but will arm you to convince yourself that another Conservative minority or a majority would continue in the same poor vein. This would also, incidentally, be a good reason to doubt that replacing your non-Conservative incumbent MP with a Conservative would not significantly alter the party's course.

Bookmark or grab the RSS feed at that URL. Tomorrow: the Joint Strike Fighter.

  1. Previous attempts at series of posts have died on the vine, so I will not promise to be a news source (search the CBC's archives), an authoritative reference (Wikipedia is a start), a barometer of fact, or anything of the sort. I will sketch, summarize, remind, direct you to other sources and editorialize a bit. 

  2. A common rejoinder is that the opposition parties have been blocking the work of the government. But suppose the opposition parties failed to oppose legislation brought by a minority government that contained provision to which their constituents (and they) disagreed. They would neglect their own responsibilities. Also, a well-intentioned government stymied by obstinate opposition will produce different results from one foiled in its pursuit of unreasonable policies. We've been seeing more of the latter. 


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