Stephen Harper has called the May election “unnecessary,” and claims he wants to get back to the job of governing. In the past year, Harper’s government has had four senior Conservatives charged by Elections Canada for intentionally exceeding campaign spending limits in the 2006 election, barred his ministers from speaking to the press, and acted with complete disregard for the principles of accountability. These events culminated in the Conservative government becoming the first in Canadian history to be found in contempt of parliament, as a result of the refusal to publicize the full cost of crime legislation and corporate tax cuts.
This style of government has given us five years of large-scale funding cuts to key social programs – such as arts funding, Aboriginal women’s programs, and programs to help immigrants – and the abandonment of any environmental responsibility, exemplified through the government’s continued support of the Tar Sands.
This election is crucial. If granted a majority, the Conservatives will take it as a mandate from Canadians that their style of governance, their lack of transparency, and their lack of social responsibility are acceptable. We have a duty as voters to tell them that this is not the case.
To prevent the Conservatives from winning a majority and unseat the Harper government, it is both a viable and legitimate option to cast your vote strategically. We, as students, have a unique opportunity because we can both choose where to vote – in our home ridings or here in Montreal – as well as which party to support.
Of all the major parties to choose from in this election, however, The Daily believes the NDP’s policies to be the most appealing. If elected, the NDP has promised to end federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, and is working on legislation that would train more family doctors and expand student loan forgiveness for those who go on practice in Canada after their studies.
In this election, the threat of a Conservative majority adds a sense of urgency to the choice that every voter must make. Every vote matters, but an uneducated vote can do more harm than good. Before going to the polls in May, we must all make a calculated decision about where our vote will make the biggest impact.