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LETTER: Consider climate, COVID strategies before voting

'We need to decide who has a realistic chance of being elected as well as whose party platform will be most successful in dealing' with COVID, climate, says letter writer
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(stock photo)

MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). This letter is in response to a letter from Mathew Lund titled, 'Local Green Party supporter warns of strategic voting,' published Sept. 17.
Thanks to Mathew Lund for his powerful letter warning us of the downsides of strategic voting and urging us all to vote with our hearts in Monday’s election.

Certainly I would hate to see the Green Party lose funding or a voice at the leaders’ debates because too many voters decided a vote for the Greens was a vote wasted. And I agree that our choice should be based on a party’s platform, not the personality of its leader.

But in a riding like Simcoe North, when a long-standing and popular MP like Bruce Stanton decides not to run, maybe strategic voting is worth considering. After all, though Simcoe North seems solidly true blue now, for many years it was Liberal under Paul DeVillers.

So let’s put aside our irritation at having to vote in an unnecessary election and at high-sounding promises not being kept, and look at how the parties would deal with the challenging difficulties ahead.

These are many – the costs of living, of child care, of houses for young families, of rental accommodation, of medications and dental care; the need to treat Indigenous communities more justly, to pull our weight in the world and to deal with the growing problem of China. I could go on.

But two problems stand out as the great issues of the day – the first, how best to manage the ongoing COVID crisis so that more lives are not unnecessarily lost; that the vulnerable are protected in care homes, in schools, and in front line and necessary jobs; that our health care system doesn’t collapse; that the economy is re-started and people back to work as soon as safely possible; that highly effective measures like vaccine certificates and mask mandates, physical distancing, contact tracing are adopted; and that we treat each other kindly and lose as few freedoms as we can in the process.

The second and even greater problem is the ongoing climate crisis. We mustn’t forget we’re all frogs in a tank of steadily heating water. COVID is the jet of scalding water we can see killing frogs right now, but unless we stop the tank heating, pretty soon it may be impossible to stop, and over the next 50 years hotter and hotter water will kill more and more frogs. Not in my lifetime maybe, but certainly in my grandkids’.

So we need a party with a climate policy that works, but also one that has a realistic chance of being accepted by the voters. People, and I include myself, are reluctant to make sacrifices. They are short-sighted about the long-term health of the environment, but see only too clearly jobs being lost and costs going up. They need to be nudged, gently enough to accept it, but firmly enough to make a difference.

Yes, I agree Mr Lund, the personality, character and life experience of our local candidates are important; certainly Bruce Stanton did an excellent job as a local MP, not least in listening to divergent points of view.

But in the end we need to decide who has a realistic chance of being elected as well as whose party platform will be most successful in dealing with these two supreme issues of our times.

This is what we will be deciding on Monday.

John Caryl