Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Conservation Voters Endore Penn in Saanich - Islands

I find the Conservation Voters of BC an odd group in how they go about endorsing. They state the candidates have to be pro-environment but also must have a chance to win. They often also endorse candidates that are clearly going to win and then claim to have made a difference in the election.

In this federal election they have made an "interesting" choice in the riding of Saanich - Gulf Islands, they endorsed the Liberal candidate Briony Penn. What makes this choice interesting is that it does not meet their criteria.

Briony Penn is no greener than NDP candidate Julian West or Green Andrew Lewis. They are effectively saying she is greener than the others which I can not believe.

Briony Penn also has a lower chance of success than the NDP and Greens in this election. Saanich - Gulf Islands. The riding has either been won by the right or by the NDP in the past. The Liberals have never been a serious threat to win this riding in the past.

Add on top of this that the Liberal party vote in BC is down by 30% to 40% and the decision looks even odder. Based on the electoral math and assuming Briony Penn is able to do much better than a typical candidate for a party, she will be hard pressed to get more than 20% of the vote in the riding.

As much as I hate it, about 2/3s of the people in Canada vote based on party first. A very strong candidate can make a positive impact on the election, but much less so than the party overall. Based on the 2006 election and the current support levels for the Liberals in BC, the Liberals are headed for fourth place in Saanich - Gulf Islands.

What the Conservation Voters have done is lessen strategic voting in Saanich - Gulf Islands and reduce the chances that Julian West of Andrew Lewis could win. Given that I personally like Gary Lunn, I am not going to complain that they made his re-election even more secure. But on the other hand I think they have done a great disservice to Julian West, the candidate most likely to defeat Gary, by supporting someone else.
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