On the subject of strategic voting groups UPDATED

October 28, 2015

During the 2015 federal election campaign, strategic voting organizations sought to deliver rough justice to the Harper Conservatives with little regard for the lives and aspirations of candidates and campaign workers.

I watched a couple of B.C. strategic vote groups hang on to an NDP recommendation in a riding long past the point that it made sense. In the end the Liberal candidate won by over 3000 votes DESPITE the strategic voting endorsement of the NDP candidate, which seems to have been cast in stone back in August.

Many candidates and campaign workers devoted a year or more of their lives to this campaign. They did not expect their fates to lie in the inexpert whims of vigilantes. One might have thought strategic voting groups set out to fight against the use of arbitrary power, not perpetuate it.


Leadnow, one of the groups I vilified in the passage above, seems to have responded to criticism in their Election Report.

We should have provided more analysis – and possibly even advice – for the candidate recommendation process. We empowered vote pledge signers to make the final decision about whether to recommend a candidate in their riding – and in 3-way races, which candidate they wanted to choose. This approach is grounded in our belief in engaging supporters in strategic decisions, which is integral to Leadnow’s model. However, in some cases we failed to provide our community with adequate context and analysis to make an informed decision. Were we to do this again, in ridings like Vancouver Granville, Burnaby North–Seymour, and Esquimalt Saanich-Sooke, we would highlight the volatility and risks shown by the polling and even consider advising our community to not recommend a candidate, while maintaining their power as decision-makers.

UPDATE 13 December, 2015

After reading the Leadnow report I am again disappointed by the hypocrisy of this group.  They do the full mea culpa on the Vancouver Granville campaign, the one where they recommended the pal of the Leadnow Executive Director over the candidate who became Minister of Justice in the Trudeau Cabinet.

 In Vancouver-Granville, there was some speculation that we recommended the NDP candidate because of her previous working relationship with Leadnow’s Executive Director, Lyndsay Poaps. Lyndsay’s relationship with Mira Oreck did not impact the recommendation process or outcome in any way however we could have more proactively clarified that it would have no bearing on the decision.   


But then they run out of apologies and go back to begging for donations. Leadnow claims its goal is to make itself obsolete.  That’s standard Marxist rhetoric, but the hypocrisy lies in the use of a glossy, superficial report in an attempt to pave over holes in its credibility like the  Burnaby-North Seymour debacle where Liberal Terry Beech had to fight the twin headwinds of a resurgent Conservative candidate and the perverse influence of this group’s NDP selection on his way to a 3000-vote plurality.

In the fundraising drive initiated by its election report, it seems as if Leadnow’s task has now become the tapping of the wallets of unsuspecting do-gooders across Canada.


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