Next, I'll talk about Religion. I promise!

First off, I guess I'll get the basics off my chest: _Vote_. I don't care what reasons or excuses you make to yourself to justify your apathy in avoiding the polls, I don't care if you claim that "the system isn't working" or "nobody out there represents my interests." I really don't. And neither should you, in fact. There's a fundamental flaw in your reasoning that would be exposed if you had ever had even the briefest exposure to logic and/or a political education. If you want the system to change, we live in a **democracy**, dumbass. Your vote _can_ change the system.

Alright, now that that's (partially) off my chest, on to the meat of the post.

I know that most of the people reading this don't share my political leanings, and that the conversations that have resulted from that difference have been some of the more enjoyable debates I've had. I also know that those debates, much like tectonic plate movement, have an effect on peoples' positions that can usually be measured in picometres per century. But they're fun nonetheless. I very much enjoy the challenge of presenting my position without quite pushing people to Godwin the conversation.

I vote Conservative.

This is a clear choice for me, based both on my own ethical understanding of the ideal interactions between thinking people and on my personal views of the shape of the modern political landscape. Canada is blessed with a remarkable lack of homogeneity in its political parties, as opposed to the legitimately mockable American two-party system, having as we do "four":http://www.conservative.ca/ "major":http://greenparty.ca/ "political":http://www.liberal.ca/ "parties":http://www.ndp.ca/ , and at least two notable "minor":http://www.blocquebecois.org/ "ones":http://www.marijuanaparty.com/ . Of the four majors, three are represented in parliament already, as is one of the minor ones.

My choice is clarified even more by the flaws of the alternatives. Of the five other parties I've described, only one meets with any of my standards for good government, but the other four are interesting in their failures.

First, we have the current ruling party, the federal Liberal government. Even leaving aside the issue of corruption, which I'll be the first to admit I just expect in any government that has had unchallenged majority governments for 11 years, the Liberal party is demonstrating more and more that they are only in touch with a small segment of the country, and are more than willing to marginalize and sideline fully half of the country's economic engine based solely on voter scarcity. Adding into the mix the staggering waste of taxpayer money best embodied in the failed gun registry and detailed in the Sea King foolishness, and you have a picture of a party whose ideas can be summed up by the same old Tax and Spend mantra.

Next up is the NDP. I'll only cite one example, but there are many, many more to see if you only look. The best view on the NDP is their stated policy of jacking up taxes on the richest 4% of the population by 32.5% in order to raise $80 Billion in revenue. While I'm not an unequivocal believer in trickle-down economics, it does seem to me that squeezing the most productive members of our society (by the only metric that really exists to measure such things that is not completely subjective. I know that there's not a rock-solid argument for income as an indicator, but as I see it, it's the best one we have so far) just because they're successful is a sure recipe for making those people go elsewhere. I know that I would. If there were ever an NDP government, I would look very closely at leaving the country. Which, for some of you, might encourage a vote for them ;).

The Green party, the fourth of the major parties on the political scene, is only barely worthy of the name major. They get it, though, because they really are a national party, with candidates in all 308 ridings, and they have a platform that bears close examination. Essentlially, they're pitching themselves as the party of the people, with online voting on their platform issues, and a strong grassroots feel to them. My biggest issue with them is the tendency of environmental issues to piggyback a social and economic policy that I usually find repugnant. However, I don't know enough about the Greens, since they've never had a seat in parliament, to completely discount them. I'll admit that -- if it were suddenly the case that a Conservative vote would be the wrong thing to do, for some reason -- I would probably vote Green in this election as a second choice.

The minor parties are much less interesting. The Marijuana Party of Canada is the same old, same old. Good idea, the legalization of harmless drugs, and in fact that's one of the areas in which I disagree with the party I am voting for. Other than that, nothing worth getting excited for. I'm betting on 0 seats for them. Then there's the Bloc Quebecois. This is a party founded on the idea that one province, Quebec, is worthy of special treatment above and beyond all others simply because of their national origin. I'm not going to go into this one on the basis that it's plain dumb.

So there's the basics. Nothing special in the latter two, I'll admit, but there _are_ alternatives. Hell, we even have a Communist party running, as well as a Libertarian one. So there's certainly something to serve most people.

I hope that someone out there reads this that wasn't going to vote and does. Even if you vote in a way that I'm personally against, please just speak out. We have something rare and special in the history of civilization in the ability to decide who will rule us, and we should use that ability whenever we can. We would be envied by most of the people who have ever lived.

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