Accusations of Vote Splitting are Baseless

Emily McMillan

Pundits were quick yesterday to point the finger at the Green Party for allegedly splitting the left-of-centre vote in the Calgary by-election. I don’t think these people paid attention to the campaign.

 Polls conducted at the beginning of the campaign credited Green candidate Chris Turner with only 7% of the vote. The same polls credited the Liberal Harvey Locke with 30%. Locke’s final number after Monday’s vote: 32.7%. Not a lot of splitting happening here.

 Splitting… the Conservatives

 By the way, Chris Turner’s final share of the vote is 25.6%. So where did this almost 20% increase came from? We know it’s not from the Liberals. The NDP? Never a factor in this campaign. No, the bulk of Chris’ support came from first-time voters and from ex-Conservative voters. Harper’s choice in Calgary, Joann Crockatt, went from 48% in the initial polls to only 36.9%. The Conservatives’ loss was the Greens’ gain.

 Victoria Momentum

 In Victoria, by-election results clearly show every party’s support dropped since the last general elections, sometimes drastically, with the exception of the Green Party of Canada.

  • The Greens surged to increase their vote by 23% (from 11.6% to 34.3%)
  • The NDP dropped by 14% (from 50.8% to 37.2%)
  • The Conservatives dropped by 9% (from 23.6% to 14.4%)
  • The Liberals dropped by about 1% (from 14.0% to 13.1%)

 Green Gain

 In fact, if you combine results in Durham, Calgary and Victoria, and compare 2011 and 2012, the trend is clear: Greens have momentum. These numbers show the difference in support between 2011 and 2012:

  • Greens                 +12%
  • Liberals               +5%
  • NDP                     -6%
  • Conservatives    -11%

 We have to take that momentum with us leading to 2015. We also have to continue offering our cooperation to other parties in the House of Commons. Inter-party cooperation is part of our values and it must be developed: our members want it, and more and more Canadians also want to see MPs work together.

 Canadians also want a voting system where every vote counts. We urgently need proportional representation (highlighted by the continual low voter turnout). It is fairer and it allows us the freedom to really vote for what we believe in, not just against something. We may only get there with all of the parties cooperating. The Greens are willing and waiting to engage in the conversation.

Emily McMillan
Executive Director
Green Party of Canada