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The Buzz Hargrove election controversy

By Ulli Diemer


December 11, 2005


Straight Goods denounced Buzz Hargrove for saying, during the federal election campaign, that he thought NDP supporters should vote for the NDP in ridings where the NDP has a chance, and Liberal in ridings where the NDP doesn't have a chance, to defeat the Conservatives. Straight Goods asked readers for their opinion; Ulli Diemer submitted this one:


Buzz Hargrove has simply stated the obvious. If you live in a riding where the NDP has a chance of winning, vote NDP. If you live in a riding where the NDP doesn't have a chance - i.e. most of them - it's better to hold your nose and vote Liberal to keep out the Conservatives than to waste your ballot on the NDP candidate and watch the Tory get elected.

If the NDP doesn't like this logic, too bad - they're the ones who, in their wisdom, decided to team up with the Conservatives and the Bloc to force this unnecessary election.

What was the point of forcing this election now? The most likely outcome is another Liberal minority: in other words, we end up back where we were, except with the Bloc stronger in Quebec. The second-most likely outcome is a Conservative minority, probably supported by the Bloc as it goes about dismantling as many federal programs and institutions as it can. The most likely outcomes after that are either a Liberal majority or a Conservative majority - either way, something much worse than we have now. An NDP government certainly isn't a possibility.

I don't get this outrage over what Hargrove said. Is there some sacred duty to always vote NDP, no matter what the circumstances? Is the NDP so wonderful that we'll lose our souls if we don't support everything the NDP does, no matter how ill-advised it may be?

Personally, I remember the NDP in government in Ontario, and it wasn't so great. I remember them breaking promises left and right - or more accurately, right and right. I remember them breaking union contracts, imposing wage rollbacks, and ramming through the so-called 'social contract'. I remember them making plans to bring in workfare. I remember them jumping on the privatization bandwagon. I remember their lack of vision and principles, and their breathtaking incompetence as a government. The best you can say for them is that the Harris Tories were much much worse.

Personally, I'm going to vote NDP because in my riding, it's a race between the NDP's Olivia Chow and the Liberal incumbent, Tony Ianno, with the Tories nowhere in sight. But as a socialist, I have no illusions that the NDP are anything more than the lesser evil.


See also Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves About the NDP
and Debating the NDP.


Ulli Diemer

December 11, 2005
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