Stephen Fuhr, the Liberal candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country, is encouraging voters to vote with their mind instead of their heart during next month’s federal election on Oct. 21.
“Let’s face it. The NDP is not getting into government nor are the Greens. That has got to weigh into your consciousness,” he said.
“We have a two-horse race and the consequences to a blue (Conservative) government will really take away everything that the Greens and the NDP believe in — and even the Liberals.”
Fuhr said all of this rolls into what he calls a “business decision” — commonly known as strategic voting.
“It shouldn’t be an emotional (decision),” said Fuhr, during an all-candidates forum on Sept. 19.
“The Conservatives aren’t going to deliver on what 80 per cent of Canadians want, so the way to stop that from happening would be to vote for the progressive person that can actually win.”
When asked if he was encouraging strategic voting in the upcoming election, Fuhr said to “vote for the things that you care about but think about who can actually deliver those things.”
Fuhr continued, saying its ultimately an individual decision and he hopes people vote for him based on the representation he gave his constituents over the past four years in Ottawa.
Other candidates in the riding took issue with Fuhr’s sentiment.
“The Liberals ran on a platform of electoral reform in 2015, they abandoned that in 2016 and the entire idea of electoral reform and proportional representation — which is what the committee recommended — is to avoid the need to vote strategically entirely,” said Justin Kulik of the NDP.
“I think it’s a little backwards for the Liberals to have voted against adopting that report and then here in 2019 during the election, again telling voters that they need to vote strategically.”
The Green Party’s Travis Ashley said that approaching the voting booth as a business decision is “terrible advice.”
“Strategic voting seems to have not been working for the past 50 some-odd years,” he said.
“We need to start voting with our hearts.”
Capital News reached out to Tracy Gray, the local Conservative candidate, for comment but did not hear back before deadline.
In 2015, Fuhr won Kelowna-Lake Country with just over 4,000 votes, however this came in part due to a deal between Fuhr and the riding’s Green Party candidate at the time, Gary Adams.
Adams agreed to drop out of the race and support Fuhr in return for Fuhr promoting parts of the Green Party platform if elected. This resulted in a contravention of the federal Elections Act but no penalties were persued.
While not happy about it at the time, the deal was not opposed by federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May and she did not name another Green candidate to replace Adams in the riding in 2015.
-With files from Alistair Waters