Election day is Tue, Oct 14. So first and foremost get out and vote.
As of Xtra’s press deadline for this issue it looks like Stephen Harper is heading for another minority government. That makes it even more important to limit the number of seats he wins. That means strategic voting — voting for the candidate most likely to defeat the Conservative in your riding.
Strategic voting is a tough pill to swallow. Neither the Liberals nor the NDP have done enough to fully deserve your vote. But it’s crucial to limit Harper’s power as much as possible.
In Toronto itself the question is virtually academic. The Tories have no chance of winning a seat here, so feel free to vote for whomever you want. There are two exceptions, however. First, Don Valley West. The riding has been a Liberal stronghold for years, but incumbent John Godfrey has stepped down. That opens the door a tiny crack for the Conservatives, who finished second in 2006. Vote for Liberal Rob Oliphant, an openly gay United Church minister.
In Pickering-Scarborough East incumbent Liberal Dan McTeague is almost guaranteed a victory. Unfortunately he’s made all sorts of homophobic comments about same-sex marriage. Vote NDP or Green.
The greater GTA is one of the keys to Harper’s possible majority. These seats are crucial, so defeating the Tories must be a priority. The Greens have no chance of winning a seat here, so vote for the Liberal or NDPer with the best hope of winning.
Check out Parl.gc.ca, which has the electoral history of all ridings. See who finished second in 2006. Or go to Voteforenvironment.ca which makes recommendations for all ridings across Canada as to who has the best chance of beating the Conservative candidate.
Here are some suggestions for GTA ridings where the Conservative is vulnerable or the Liberal or NDP incumbent may face a close race.
In Etobicoke-Lakeshore Liberal Michael Ignatieff faces high-profile Mulroney Tory Patrick Boyer. Vote Liberal.
In Ajax-Pickering the Liberal incumbent faces a close race. Vote Liberal.
In Brampton West the Liberal incumbent retired. Vote Liberal.
In Burlington there’s a Tory incumbent. The Liberals finished second so vote Liberal.
In Dufferin-Caledon the Liberals finished second to the Tory incumbent. Vote Liberal.
In Durham, Bev Oda, the minister for international cooperation, holds a safe Tory seat. Vote Liberal, they’re the only ones with a chance.
In Etobicoke North the Liberal incumbent has retired. Vote Liberal.
In Halton, Garth Turner, who fled the Conservatives, is running for the Liberals. You can bet the Tories will target him. Their candidate is Lisa Raitt, CEO of Toronto’s much-hated Port Authority. Vote Liberal.
All of the Hamilton ridings are held by the NDP. They’re probably all safe, but the Tories have a chance, especially in Hamilton Mountain. Vote NDP.
In Mississauga South the Liberals won a tight race over the Conservatives. Vote Liberal.
In Mississauga-Erindale the Liberal incumbent won by only 328 votes. Vote Liberal.
In Mississauga-Streetsville incumbent Wajid Khan crossed from the Liberals to the Conservatives. Vote Liberal.
In Newmarket-Aurora Belinda Stronach is stepping down as MP. She was elected as a Tory but crossed to the Liberals after the 2004 election. She was reelected as a Liberal in 2006. Vote Liberal.
In Oak Ridges-Markham vote for the Liberal incumbent.
In Oakville the Liberal incumbent won by only 744 votes over the Conservative. This is considered a major swing riding. Vote Liberal.
In Oshawa the Conservative defeated Sid Ryan of the NDP by 2,752 votes. Ryan isn’t running but vote NDP.
In Whitby-Oshawa the hated finance minister Jim Flaherty won by only 3,412 votes over the Liberals. Vote Liberal.
In York-Simcoe ultra-snarky Conservative house leader Peter Van Loan won handily over the Liberals. This is probably a safe seat for him, but vote Liberal and hope for the best.