There is no doubt that the upcoming federal elections on the twentieth of the present month have a special significance as they come in an exceptional circumstance in the era of the Covid-19 epidemic. In addition to a political situation that also has its own uniqueness which is the fact that the current government is a minority one that was the outcome of the 2019 elections. The Canadian federal political custom has been that minority governments lives for two years or a little more.
There was a lot of talk by opposition parties and some press articles when the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the date of the snap legislative elections. Most of the apparent criticism was due to what the opponents considered the call for elections as improper during a state of health emergency as a consequence of the spread of the Corona virus. The political criticism may have other dimensions too, including some parties’ fear of losing seats in the Parliament that they had achieved in the 2019 elections, which they may not be able to maintain in the current one.
During the period leading up to the call for elections and at the beginning of the electoral campaigns, most expectations were that the Liberal Party would win and form the next government for the second time in a row. Accordingly, most of the discussions revolved around whether it is a majority or a minority government again. It was not about who would win the elections.
The picture and political anticipation began to change somewhat as the election’s campaigns entered their second and third week, with the emergence of some polls that differed from the ones done before in terms of expectations about the elections’ outcome and the chances of the Conservative Party winning.
Regardless of the precision and accuracy of the polls and how they are translated by the number of seats won by each party in the various provinces, it can be confidently said that it appears that knowing the definite results of the elections will not take place until the night of September 20, after the counting of all the votes from cost to cost to cost. Hence, the importance of casting the votes on that day becomes more significant and vital, because every vote in the ballot box is important in terms of determining the final image of who will rule the country in the coming years.
In light of such a lack of clarity as per the election results, the big question comes, whom do I elect? Who do I vote for? These are legitimate questions in light of the prospects of a winning party representing the center of the Canadian political spectrum or a party representing the right of the spectrum. There are significant differences between the two on more than one level, social, economic and political. Furthermore, the importance is greater for some segments of the society from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, because the two parties competing to win the elections have dealt previously and historically with some files that concern these groups in a different and sometimes in conflicting ways, which leads to the apprehension and the anxiety of these social segments.
First of all, it should be emphasized that elections are a democratic exercise by all means, in which voters choose their candidates freely, stemming, mainly, from personal convictions.
There are three strategies in the voting process, one of which the voter may follow depending on the geopolitical circumstances the country is going through.
First, strategic voting;
Strategic voting occurs when a voter casts his/her voice not for his preferred candidate, but for the candidate he/she believes is best to defeat his/her least desirable candidate. In other words, the voter may choose a party not because it is his/her favourite, but rather by believing that it is the party that can defeat the competing party that the voter does not want to rule.
Second, traditional voting;
Conventional voting occurs when voters chooses candidates and the political parties they prefer regardless of the outcome of the elections. Usually the voter adopts this method of voting when he/she does not focus much on who constitutes the government in the end. Rather, his/her concentration is more on supporting the political trend, which he/she considers to be the most representative of his/her concerns in Parliament.
Third, combination of strategic election with traditional voting;
In this, the voter adopts the strategic vote approach regarding the final results of the elections in terms of not bringing the party that is not favoured to power. But he/she tends to the traditional election in the constituencies, which he/she thinks will not affect the election end results.
The challenge in adopting this method of selecting candidates and parties, which combines strategic and traditional elections, is that it requires the voter to have a certain degree of familiarity with the details of the statistics of the different electoral districts in order to make his/her decision consciously which do not lead to the victory of the other party that he/she does not prefer to form the next government.
At the end, the free democratic course remains the main focus in the voting process and the liberty to choose parties and candidates in which the voter directly contributes in drawing the final shape of how the ruling party is supposed to govern, in the] best interest of the country and the people.