In the end, I opted for the devil I know. I never dreamed that I would be casting a vote for a party that I could never support, but given the spectre of the right-wing extremists who seemed poised to take over, I, like so many other left-leaning Albertans, chose to hold my nose and vote strategically.
I know I did this to the detriment of the parties that I philosophically support, and I feel awful about that, but I really don't feel as though I had any choice. In this election, for the first time since moving to this province, my vote was not wasted. Although it was a vote made out of fear and it was a vote against something rather than for something, my little vote finally made a difference. Even if it served to maintain the status quo.
In my riding in particular, the results were very close. In fact, so close that they are still not official - a couple of dozen votes separating the top runners. The incumbent, who has ruled the riding for the past 300 years, crossed the floor to the extremists last year, leaving a great deal of uncertainty as to how this staunchly conservative riding would vote. Were my neighbours red-neck enough to follow her or would they stay the course and continue to vote the same way they always have? Sadly, none of the other parties have ever stood a snowball's chance in hell in this riding. In fact, only four parties ran candidates in my riding during this election, having learned from past experience that there is no return on time, effort and money to run here unless you are a conservative.
I simply could not take the chance of allowing the Wildrose to form the government.
To be honest, I rather like our premier. She strikes me as intelligent, compassionate, and measured in her approach. She seems open to reaching out to others, building bridges, as she would say, rather than firewalls. As a former human rights lawyer, one hopes she understands the importance of a humane inclusive government.
I feel less dirty casting the vote I did, knowing that many of the most right-wing in the party had already switched allegiances to the Wildrose. My hope is that this PC government will demonstrate more centrist values, in deference to those of us who elected them.
Remember us, because we will certainly remember.
Edit: Looks like my neighbours were indeed red-neck enough to follow the incumbent in my riding over to the dark(er) side. The official final count now shows that I live in a Wildrose riding. Uck.
Labels: what if they held an election and nobody came