If someone does not see much difference between NDP, Liberal, Bloc and Green policies they have not yet done their civic duty. Note the billions of public dollars that will be spent in dramatically different ways, the manner in which those promises will be funded and the starkly dissimilar approaches to democratic reform, climate change, civil liberties and foreign policy that these supposedly interchangeable parties advocate.
Now more than ever we need to acknowledge that an election choice is more subtle than any winner-take-all contest can ever capture. Voters are forced to choose the lesser of all evils and vote strategically about who they want as well as keep in mind who they are afraid might win. Why not let the voters rank the evils directly and stop worrying? It would be more honest. Government and democracy are about more than just finding efficiencies, lowering taxes or even getting people moving. Informed and responsible citizens of a democracy need to work to make the system better.
The most exciting by-election on Thursday is in Calgary Centre, where polls indicate a three-way race between the Conservatives, the Liberals and (deep breath) the Green Party. So if you live in Calgary Centre and are an NDP voter, a Green voter, a Liberal voter, then I suggest you consider yourself, first and foremost, a progressive voter.