There's a federal election in Canada tomorrow, and I'm still undecided. My choice to repeat my previous federal and provincial voting pattern (for the Green Party) was thrown into uncertainty by a snipe from my mother. She called a vote for the greens a waste of taxpayers' money. At first, I filed that one in the same spot as her equation of the Green Party to communism (I'm not kidding), but then I started thinking of Italy: dozens of political parties and elections every few months. Maybe Canada doesn't need another player in the political scene.
(In Canada, if a political party gets a certain percentage of the vote, they qualify for funding from the federal government.)
If there's something that this enormous and thinly-populated nation doesn't need, it's more fragmentation. If the NDP has never achieved power at the federal level, what hope does the Green Party have? Once the greens achieve a certain size, it's conceivable they could be swallowed up in a merger with the NDP, anyway.
And then there's my riding: Toronto Centre. A fortress of Liberal Party power. My MP is the minister of defense, and although I've always liked him, I've never voted for him. In this election, however, I think he deserves my vote. Bill Graham's support of Canada's same sex marriage legislation is something I, as a gay man, have to pay attention to. Perhaps if I had grown up knowing the option of marriage (and the associated civil rights afforded by it) was available, I wouldn't have developed (and spent years working through) the issues of self-loathing and shame I felt as a closeted homosexual teenager.
My brother thinks I should vote NDP because the leader, Jack Layton, "looks like a gay 70's porn star..." What a cheeky monkey! But my brother just doesn't want me to vote Liberal...
I've never voted NDP before, and I might consider it--had I not been harassed by one of their campaign workers during the last election. He tried to force his way into my apartment building behind me. (This is one of my pet peeves.) I turned to him and asked what he thought he was doing. He said, "under Canadian election law, I have a right to enter the building." I told him to go back to the intercom board and continue buzzing his list of supporters until he found one that would let him in. I then used my height and build to my advantage: I pulled the door shut behind me, forcefully. Fuck you, Michael Shapcott campaign worker. Go trespass somewhere else.
And then there's the Conservative party. The local candidate's third listed core principle: "The family unit is the building block of society as we know it." Forgive me if my past experience with those who espouse such values has left me guarded and cautious. Interestingly enough, in the week since I've visited this candidate's website, he has inserted "sexual orientation" into his second listed value, which posits that all people should be treated as equal under the law. It's like he finally realized that one of North America's largest gay and lesbian communities lies in the centre of the riding he's after.
His blog claims that he's in favour of same sex marriage, and that the gay rights group EGALE has given him a grade of A- . This is true--but EGALE also gives the Conservative party a grade of F.
I can't believe I'm in that most central-Canadian of places: holding my nose and voting Liberal. Fuck.