Have the 'courage' to vote for who you want, says Singh to potential strategic voters
OTTAWA – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh doubled down Tuesday on his main message to voters during Monday night's leaders' debate: that the choice on Oct. 21 doesn't have to be between the Liberals and Conservatives.
Singh was asked what he'd say to voters who may be contemplating voting strategically, given that the polls are consistently showing Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer in a tight race to win the most seats.
His response was a question to those Canadians: "How many times in your life have you done something because you're afraid and got a good result out of it? And how many times have you taken the courage to take a chance on something that was good for you, and you did it and your life became better?" said Singh in Toronto.
"It's the same thing in this election. If you make a choice out of fear we're going to get cynical results, but if you choose something that you believe in with your heart, you dream big, that's how you get big results. … We’re not going to get amazing changes by settling for less."
Strategic voting is the practice of casting a ballot in favour of the party one perceives of having the best chance of ensuring that the party they dislike does not form power, and not necessarily the party they actually align closest with. In recent elections in Canada, the strategic voter sentiment has been centered on not electing Conservative governments.
"It certainly has an effect… Usually people from the smaller parties will tend to abandon them, let's say for the Liberals at the last minute," said University of Toronto professor Jeffrey Rosenthal on CTV's Your Morning on Monday.
In last night's official English-language leaders' debate, Singh sought to cut through the cross-talk between Trudeau and Scheer with the pronouncement that Canadians don't have to choose between "Mr. Delay and Mr. Deny," gesturing to Trudeau and Scheer, and his remarks today sought to further capitalize on that one-liner.
Singh said Trudeau's message in this campaign has been to encourage voters to "be afraid of the Conservatives and settle for less."
"I want to tell people really clearly you do not have to settle for less," Singh said, before pivoting to the proposal of electoral reform, something that was a hot topic in the 2015 campaign but has largely become a backburner issue after the Liberals abandoned their pledge to get rid of the first-past-the-post voting system.
Singh said that one of his priorities if an NDP government is elected, would be to implement proportional representation, without a referendum because he thinks a consensus has already been reached.
"So we would never have the fear of a party getting less than 40 per cent of the vote but getting 100 per cent of the power," he said.
Asked if he was frustrated that his party has not seen a bump in the polls despite what political observers have said have been strong debate performances throughout the campaign, Singh said that he "didn't get into this because it was going to be easy," adding a shot at the Liberals, saying that if he wanted easy he could have joined the red team.
Singh is not the only one to be making the case for voting for the representation you want. During last night's debate, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May made the prediction that the outcome of the election will be a Liberal victory, coming down to a seat count as to whether it would be a majority or minority, but did not elaborate on what evidence she has to back that claim.
She used this premise as the basis to say that voting for their local Green candidate "is your very best guarantee, Canada, that you don’t get the government that you least want," May said.