It amazes me that at a time when it's hard to predict the future of the world's banking system, let alone forecast interest rates or the fate of the U.S. dollar and the euro, the pseudo-scientists espousing strategic voting are convinced future electoral patterns for an entire nation are something visceral, knowable and as easy to manipulate as chess pieces.
In case anyone's missed it, the world is ablaze and the old paradigms are collapsing. The Tory-Liberal Punch and Judy Show is almost over, and new answers are desperately needed as the old ones are proving as bankrupt as the financial institutions they once propped up.
Now is not the time to be burdened by dusty preconceptions constructed in the past.
The strategic voting sideshow has been a major distraction from the breakthrough opportunities offered by next week's election. The Liberal party fade was clear as soon as the race started. Bushophile Tory Stephen Harper's fold has been a longer time coming, but it, too, is on the horizon.
Voters are hungry for change, and even the Green party's growth, not just the NDP's booming campaign, is an indication that Canadians are ready to consider new answers, even if strategic voting propagators are still stuck shuffling the same old cards in the same old deck.
It's strange that the SVs are playing the same distracting, issue-avoiding game as the mainstream media. Both groups spend acres of ink and Web space dissecting daily polling results, which sidetracks debate over dozens of important concerns, including but not limited to the environment.
Will we really mark our ballots based on interim poll results gleaned from phoning a handful of distracted Canadians at the supper hour? The true margin of error is something like 35 million, not 2.7 per cent or whatever else is being claimed.
Fortunately, in Toronto, strategic voting isn't even an issue. The Tories don't have a chance anywhere in the 416, so there's no reason for local voters to even contemplate this game.
We have four Toronto ridings where excellent NDP candidates, three of them incumbents, could and should be sent to Ottawa to, hopefully, finally put Canada's biggest city on the federal agenda. Of course, I have yet to find a strategic voting website that will actually endorse any of these great candidates, though they seem to have no problem pulling the vote for mediocre Liberals.
And in the rest of T.O.'s ridings, do-nothing Liberals will manage yet again to keep the Conservative barbarians from the gates.
You can vote with more than your heart, even your head, for Jack Layton in Toronto-Danforth, Olivia Chow in Trinity-Spadina, Peggy Nash in Parkdale-High Park and Marilyn Churley in Beaches-East York and be confident that you will have made your mark beside the name of one of the best MPs that Canada will elect next week.
And in the remaining ridings, go Orange without fear of electing a Tory and without having to hold your nose to help old-school opportunists like Liberals Allan Tonks, Joe Volpe, Bob Rae and the rest.
Liberals and the NDP are not interchangeable; they are not the same. Jack Layton's party wants Canada out of the unwinnable war in Afghanistan, and his T.O. team all have real grassroots connections, all leaders in local fights, from battling the port land power plant and big-box stores downtown to advocating for funding for public housing and transit.
The Liberal party is trying to do a McCain-Palin and pretend it's a party that hasn't held power, without a past. The Libs had decades to do all the "great" initiatives they now claim to be so desperate to achieve; they just didn't do anything.
So why give them even one vote of encouragement in Toronto now? Better that they get their hands slapped and locals send the message that their years of doing nothing for the city will get them nothing from us.
If Stephen Harper, as it appears, especially with the collapse of his vote in Quebec, can do no better than another minority, let's elect a strong NDP, a party that will demand new approaches year round, not just at election time.
The wasted vote this election is one for the Liberals.