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LETTER: There are more than two parties to choose from

With candidates and current incumbents stood behind him, Newfoundland and Labrador Progressive Conservative (PC) Party Leader Ches Crosbie presents his party’s campaign kick-off speech at the Royal on Water office building (formerly the Fortis Building) in downtown St. John’s on Friday night. NL Premier and Liberal Party Leader Andrew Furey held a 6:00 p.m. supper-hour news conference at the Confederation Building main lobby to announce the 2021 Provincial Election will be held on Saturday, February 13, 2021.
-Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
Newfoundland and Labrador Progressive Conservative Party Leader Ches Crosbie kicked off his campaign in downtown St. John’s on Friday night. The 2021 provincial election will be held on Feb. 13, 2021. — Telegram file photo

Are we really going to do this again? Hand either of the two traditional parties a majority again? Please say it ain’t so.

Until we start supporting our third, fourth and fifth place parties, we will always get the same result. (And yes, we have third, fourth and fifth place parties: NDP, the Green Party and the NL Alliance). If everything stays the same, then everything stays the same.

Are we really going to give the current government — which has lorded over us for 43 years, another four years of unbridled authority? Or, the Progressive Conservatives, who’ve enjoyed 29 years, another chance with another four-year term? Two short years ago, we spanked these parties by not giving either one of them a majority. Let’s at least do that again.

Nobody wants an election except the opportunistic Liberals. And what’s with these task forces on how to make decisions that governments should be making anyway? It’s like contracting-out governance. Didn’t we elect you to govern? But instead, you turn to the captains of industry to make decisions for you. I feel a comic strip coming on, The Privatizers. If we only have these two main parties to blame for our history, why would we reward them again? At least a minority NDP government in British Columbia co-operated with other parties to maintain good government for more than three years. This election is a smash-and-grab on the part of the Liberals. I’m not entirely averse to majorities, but for God’s sake let’s take a break from these two parties.

Please, all of us, even the four out of 10 of us who didn’t vote in 2019, get out and vote and commit to bring two younger voters with you.

In recent years, some provinces have given birth to brand new parties (examples: Coalition Avenir du Quebec and United Conservative Party in Alberta). Then, they’ve nurtured those infant parties for perhaps one election cycle and promoted them to be the governing party in the next cycle. Some provincial electorates have even put them directly into government right away, having been sick and tired of the two parties they often saw but having been thankful that people have created alternative parties from which they can choose. Some other voting electorates in other provinces have always respected that they have a third, fourth or fifth choice of party for government and have not been blind to the two-party environment where they pathetically watch the windshield wipers go back and forth. Apparently, that’s what we’ve preferred here in Newfoundland and Labrador for 72 years straight. Hard to believe. If we always do what we always did, we’ll always get what we’ve always gotten.

Then there are the provinces that have rightly given their third-place party a chance, even a few times, when they were fed up with the two they had already tried. Now, truly, that shouldn’t take much courage, just common sense.

Oh, and don’t misinterpret me, we don’t have to give a majority to either one of these five parties that might be on the ballot. Heck, no. The beautiful country of Ireland that we so often culturally align ourselves with most often forms coalition governments from a selection of five or more parties.

Oh, and another sober reminder: only six out of 10 of us who were eligible to vote actually voted in 2019. While our voting electorate is at or near the bottom of the pack for voter turnout (federally and provincially), younger voters are particularly disenfranchised about voting.

Please, all of us, even the four out of 10 of us who didn’t vote in 2019, get out and vote and commit to bring two younger voters with you. You can keep watching your windshield wipers or you can choose to look out your side windows.

Mark Power,
St. John’s

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1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

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