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Election 2019: McGill students debate voting strategically versus voting on principle


Progressive voters had a dilemma in this election. Do you vote strategically to try ensure the Conservatives don’t win or do you vote following principles? That was one of the topics at an election-night viewing party at Thomson House at McGill University organized by the McGill Post-Graduate Students Society.

Nick James, a 22-year-old McGill neuroscience student from Toronto, voted Liberal in his home riding of York South-Weston.

“I was torn between voting for the NDP and the Liberals,” James said. “For a long time, I was not a fan of (NDP leader) Jagmeet Singh just because of the way he came across. But after the debates, I liked Jagmeet Singh. I’d ideally vote for him if I could. But I think for myself for where I want Canada to go in the next couple of years, it really came down to voting for the Liberals in my riding. The Conservative Party and their position on certain issues does not give me much confidence for the future of this country. It was a difficult decision.

“Addressing the climate crisis is important, but it’s not the only issue for our country and it’s important to have realistic goals and address multiple issues. I align more with what the NDP is pushing and even the Greens. So it was strategic voting. It was difficult for me to feel comfortable with not providing some support against the Conservatives.”

Calum Jensen, a 25-year-old masters student in music composition, in contrast voted on principle in his riding of St-Henri.

“I felt a little bit conflicted,” Jensen said. “The Conservatives were polling pretty well and, personally, I don’t want to see them in office. So there was a bit of a temptation to vote strategically. I decided to be a bit more principled about it.

“I have a hard time stomaching some of the things that the Liberal Party has done,” Jensen said. “In 2015, they presented themselves as a very progressive party and in reality they’ve been pretty centrist. They’ve installed pipelines on Indigenous land. There’s this doublespeak you get out of (Justin) Trudeau where he wants people to believe one thing, but he’s acting in another way and especially given the climate crisis, it’s unacceptable to behave that way.

“So I put my vote with the NDP and hopefully they can gain trajectory over the coming years,” Jensen said. “You have to be principled about voting so they know there are people that care about these issues.”

bkelly@postmedia.com

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