"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Monday 5 October 2015


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "WHAT DO WE WANT IN AN M.P. ?": 

Unfortunately the declining of a ballot is a hollow gesture on your part (whether it is federal, provincial or municipal). When the votes are tabulated, no one looks at the declined or spoiled ballots to determine what the thinking was around the voter. If there was a spot on the ballot that says "Declined...... please explain why." then you would have a platform to vent your frustration. Except for telling your family and friends that you declined the vote, there is no one going to listen (I doubt that your friends or family would either).  

I am always torn in Federal or Provincial elections. Do I support the party and vote for the candidate, or do I vote for the candidate that will represent me? If the party that I support appears to be faltering in the big picture, I try and vote for the local candidate that will support me the best.  

Declining or spoiling your vote does nothing for anyone other than you. Go ahead and do that if you must, but you give up your right to complain about the government that is elected, because you failed to participate.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 5 October 2015 at 11:37


It never used to be such a quandary. Riding Associations kept the party alive between elections and 
members  took care of  finding candidates for nomination. Usually someone in the community with a record of service and experience. A  member of a local council with a solid reputation would be a worthy prospect.

Blatantly selling memberships to marshal votes would not have been appreciated. Rules were not written. They were understood. Just because you could didn't mean you should. 

I used to attend all  political party nomination meetings because I wanted to. 

Nowadays many riding associations have little to say about the choice for nomination.Being known in the community doesn't count for much either. 

Talking  heads on T.V. panels analyse ad nauseum for those among us who can't think for ourselves. 

If a  leader needs to change the pitch, replace an advisor of hire a body language consultant  or all three, they can do it without missing a step or losing a beat. 

There are no secrets. Nothing is hidden. Much is imagined. 

Every leader doles out promise according to the audience. Secure in the knowledge people who 
attend events are likely to vote  and for whatever they hear that suits them. 

It's quid pro quo. 

How could it be otherwise? A campaign is a long tedious grind and there's no way around it. 

I called elections Canada today to find out for sure if a declined ballot in a federal election is counted as spoiled.

It is. 

In a provincial election however, a declined ballot is counted separately. It is a statement of sorts. 
But little comfort if there is truly no-one on the ballot who earns your confidence. 

I will vote forThomas Mulcair. His platform is closest to my concerns. I want no more young Canadians,  sent ,in my name, to die in foreign lands for causes I know nothing about. 

I don't want thousands of survivors of guerrilla warfare coming home so traumatized by what they have seen ,their lives and their families' lives are changed forever.

 I don't believe there is a treatment that will make them forget. 

I  also want government to examine the connection between inadequate education and the prison population. I want resources spent on adequate education rather than build new jails to provide round the clock custodial care costing in excess of $100,000. each inmate. 

That's not my idea of good use of taxpayers' dollars. 

I do not believe  more jails and longer sentences are the answer for all of society's problems. 

I don't need a teddy bear to be Prime Minister of Canada but I need to believe there's a heart that cares for the least  among us.   

Each  time I brought a new member of the family home, my oldest son was out of the house before the car stopped to take the baby gently and lovingly  from my arms. 

There's a picture  among the campaign ads of Tom Mulcair, a smiling teen-ager, second eldest in a family of ten, holding a new baby in his arms. 

I know that look. 

My vote will be counted. 


Anonymous said...

If individuals plan to render their ballots useless, they should not take up the parking spaces needed by those who wish their
ballots to be counted. If the weather is cruddy that can be important as some are easily discouraged.

Anonymous said...

It is virtually pointless to vote for the candidate, unless he or she is a sitting cabinet members or would likely be appointed to such a post if his or her party were elected to form a majority government.

Most MP's and MPP's who sit on the back benches have one function - to vote the party line as dictated by the "leader." They do get to sit on committees and make trips to foreign lands as "fact finders" but the value of their contributions is pretty much nil.

Politics is about money and the power that it buys. Ideas are a penny a dozen and get trotted out periodically to assuage a public that might be getting a bit testy. Sound policies that deal with a nation's real problems somehow get buried or shifted to a back burner where they can simmer for years.

Real leadership is a thing of the past in this age of Facebook and Twitter and Australian gurus, the latter no doubt being paid with taxpayer money, just as Harper's promotional blitz on his party's behalf comes out of the public purse.

Compulsory voting might result in a real and meaningful change in our political democratic system, where no one is allowed to hide.

Anonymous said...

11:37- oh yes they are participating in the voting process! I'm thinking of doing the exact same thing. Sitting on your ass at home is not participating. I only voted for 3 council members at our last municipal election, and no mayor. I'm a liberal. Don't like my representative nor do I like Justin. I have a friend who's stuck as well. A conservative who can't stand his representative but really likes the Liberal in his riding. I respect eveyone getting out there and chosing whatever they would like to do with their ballot. They have respected all those who fought and lost their lives for that privilege.

Anonymous said...

20:10 - You disrepect all those who fought and died for the right to vote with your comment.

Anonymous said...

22:05 - How did 20:0 do that? I think he or she is saying if you are going to the polling place for the sole purpose of not voting for anyone, then stay at home.

20:21 - The municipal election is a different animal. The ballot says "Vote for up to 8" candidates. There is no expectation or requirement that you vote for 8. You can vote for 1 or 2 or 8. Voting for 3 is fine.

Not voting for the local candidate because you don't like him or her is fine if you are voting for the local candidate. I hear people (like Evelyn) say that they are voting for Mulcair or Trudeau or whomever. You can't do that unless you live in their riding first of all. Secondly, if the local candidate does not win the riding, your votes are meaningless.

Christopher Watts said...

While we're on the subject of votes counting, here's a fantastic effort that provides a breakdown of counting how the 2 MP's voted:



Anonymous said...

Piffle !

Anonymous said...

Great website, although not all bills are listed. It looks like only parliamentary session 39-2. There was one particular bill (C-560) in the 41-2 session that was near and dear to our family that's not listed on this site.

Anonymous said...

8:35... as usual, incomplete content to backup a flawed position

Anonymous said...

8:03- Is staying home participating in the voting process? No! I wouldn’t have voted for any municipal councillor if I believed that they didn’t have the best interest of the Town, as I did when I did not vote for a mayor. Not voting for a candidate in this federal election means I do not trust any of the candidates that have been chosen. They do not have the best interest federally for our community in which my family lives. That being said, I understand my vote will not count in choosing the “winning” party or the losing party, but it will count as participating in the voting process

Christopher Watts said...


Sorry to hear you're having trouble with the links I've posted. I have been able to access them via multiple browsers on desktop and iOS.

votes.mp was recently featured in this Ottawa MetroNews piece:

The article reports that voting records date back to 2006 but one commentator has pointed out a particular bill is not included.

I suspect that this, and other glitches would be quickly remedied if brought to the attention of the site's creators, especially given that one is identified as a PhD candidate in neuroscience at Harvard University.

The fact that another of your commentors choice to dismiss it as being incomplete regardless of the site's thousands of daily views with traffic spiking during events demonstrates only the flawed position of this commentor.

The site only went live on Sept 19th and is the work of two brothers who I commended for advancing the datasets from openparliament.ca.

Anonymous said...

I am continually astounded by how much the media helps manipulate voter perception
Locally the media is all over the young liberal campaign worker asking Costas M a question about the middle class he wouldn't answer. While out in eastern canada when being interviewed by reporter Steven Murphy about the cost of his election promises Justin Trudeau the Liberal Leader replies he didn't know and suggests Murphy get a calculator and add up the costs himself
Both bad but for a leader to be so obtuse and vapid are you kidding me

Anonymous said...

Justin Trudeau's interview with CTV'S Atlantic Canada reporter Steve Murphy on the economy and cost of election promises brings back memories of Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric. Too bad most people in this part of the world are oblivious to what happens outside this geographical area especially during a FEDERAL election.