There’s a common misconception that a vote for the New Democratic Party (NDP) is essentially a vote for the Conservatives. The logic is that the NDP is not strong enough to actually get elected. Thus, a vote for them just ‘takes away from leftist support that could be going to the Liberals,’ which are historically a more elected party.
This is simply not true, especially in Ontario. Our readers probably weren’t even born yet, but way back in 1990 a young Bob Rae led the NDP to their first win in Ontario, securing a comfortable majority of seats in the legislature. This can happen again − and in 2018, it’s more likely than it has been since that election 28 years ago.
The Ontario NDP, under current leader Andrea Horwath, is consistently polling in second place in the wake of Doug Ford’s election as PC leader. Even a short campaign could propel the NDP ahead of the volatile PCs. At the start of the election campaign in 1990, the NDP was even further behind than they are today.
It’s also worth considering that an NDP seat chips away at a PC victory. While, yes, an NDP seat of course takes away from the Liberals’ total, it also makes a PC majority that much less likely.
If we’ve learned anything from the 2017 British Columbia election − in which the Liberals won a minority government, and were unseated by the NDP thanks to the support of the Greens − two opposition parties with a more common ideology can easily overthrow minority governments. There’s the potential that a second-place NDP could get backing from the Liberals to unseat a minority PC government.
But it’s not all about winning. An NDP voice in the legislature is essential. Electing NDP MPPs ensures a strong, unabashedly leftist voice from their constituents. While the Liberals are midway through their mandate, breaking promises they made to the left-of-centre base that keeps electing them, the NDP can hold them accountable.
Saying an NDP vote is ‘wasted’ is complete nonsense. This is not my point of view; this is simply the reality in our parliamentary system. Whether or not they come out on top, NDP seats strengthen our democracy with their drive of leftist policy. They’re a voice that needs to be heard. Why? They represent an important part of our society: progressives.