E.May on Vote Splitting

Recently, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May met with the editorial Board of the Globe & Mail. Here is her response to a question on vote splitting, one I am getting a lot these days!

“How would Elizabeth May feel if the Green vote tipped the balance in the election and gave the Conservative party a majority parliament by splitting the non-conservative vote (e.g. like Ralph Nader did in the U.S. election of 2000?) (Question from reader Andre Vellino via Facebook)

Elizabeth May: The significant risk in Canada is not vote splitting, it is vote abandoning. If you look at 2008, Stephen Harper won more seats than in 2006, but the Conservatives had fewer votes than in 2006. The Green Party wasn’t taking away from other parties. We were attracting a vote that went up at a time when voter turnout was going down because we were offering people something positive.

The single largest voting block in 2008 was the people who didn’t vote. 41 per cent staying home is a larger voter block than the people who voted Conservative. So what’s going on in Canadian democracy right now that is a threat? It sure isn’t the Green Party. The Conservatives under Stephen Harper have adopted Republican-style strategies including what the Republicans called “voter suppression.” They know their base doesn’t grow, so they are deliberately trying to encouraging Canadians to stay home through things like attack adds, that have the effect of making people feel so disgusted that they don’t want to vote at all. Now the fact that other parties are responding with attack adds of their own is distressing because the overall effect of having the political culture appear to be snake pit of poisonous venom, does not encourage people to get out and vote. We are actually offering an antidote to that.”

Another reason we cannot be compared to Ralph Nader is I would never say there is no difference between Liberals and Conservatives in an effort to hold up our own vote. I think honesty and ethics in politics is so desperately lacking, that if someone stands up for it, it might actually get those 41 per cent who stay home to come out and vote.