Anti-Harper voting campaign targets North Van
North Vancouver is one of six B.C. ridings caught in the crosshairs of a strategic voting initiative against Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Catch 22, a partisan organization registered as a third party with Elections Canada, identified the North Shore community as one of roughly 50 ridings across the country where it projects the race will be close.
In an effort to prevent Harper from winning a majority, Catch 22 is encouraging opposition supporters to avoid “vote-splitting” by casting a ballot for the candidate most likely to defeat the Conservative in their ridings.
“The Catch 22 message is clear — if you live in one of the Conservative-held ridings on our list and want to see your MP defeated, you need to vote smart,” reads an online statement by the group. “You may not vote for your first choice but you will help to prevent your last choice from winning. It’s as simple as that.”
In North Vancouver, the group is recommending that anti-Conservative voters support Liberal challenger Taleeb Noormohamed.
But Conservative incumbent Andrew Saxton says his team takes serious issue with the campaign.
“We take all threats seriously, especially if they come from strategic voting campaigns that undemocratically encourage insincere voting,” said Saxton in an email to The Outlook. “This is proof that Ignatieff’s coalition is alive and well on the North Shore and is more reason why we need to get all our supporters out to vote.”
Saxton said he has been receiving good feedback on the doorsteps of North Van residents, including “many lifelong Liberals saying they will be voting Conservative this time because they are generally content with the way Prime Minister Harper has governed us through this economic recession” and “angry at the Liberals for having forced us into this unnecessary and costly election.”
Locally, he said he will continue to campaign on his personal record of “delivering for North Vancouver,” including more than $100 million in federal funds for projects at Windsor secondary, Capilano University and Chris Zuehlke Memorial Park.
He added a Conservative majority government would “implement the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan and balance the budget within four years.”
Noormohamed, meanwhile, told The Outlook he is humbled to be gaining support from members of other parties.
“I think it speaks to the fact that Greens and New Democrats can see things that are important to them in the Liberal platform and that we’ll work hard to make sure those issues are addressed well,” he said.
Noormohamed noted that 60 per cent of North Vancouverites didn’t vote for the Conservatives in the last election, and said this time around “there are more people out there that are less and less satisfied with Mr. Harper’s take on how this country should be run.”
The fact that people are willing to vote strategically, said Noormohamed, shows people are ready for a change.
“They are sick of dwelling on the negative and want to see us start working on things that actually matter to Canadians,” he said. “This is about the future of the country, and it tells me people feel confident that electing a Liberal will get things done.”