Progressive voters have a lot of power heading into Tuesday's federal election. The CON team, led by head cheese Steve Harper, remains within striking distance according to some polls, yet holds an edge that could result in what the so-called leader said is a "stronger mandate" and send a "pretty severe warning" to the opposition parties. Yep, that means 14 year olds in adult prisons, continued governing behind closed doors, and using fear as a wedge on all kinds of issues, from economy to the environment. Oh yeah, and it means science takes a back seat to paranormal dressers and gut instincts.
But that draconian result doesn't have to be, if we put our heads, hearts and votes together to put some Tory turkeys out to pasture.
To do that, we need to park our partisan hopes to one side and look at key battlegrounds. While the rationale behind strategic voting will be a work in progress until parties begin to trust their rivals, there are a few key ridings where it is incumbent that we unite to rock the CONs.
In the following six ridings, Canadians who believe in the ideals and achievements of Douglas and Pearson, Trudeau and Broadbent can send a Harper minister/heavyweight packing, need to get their acts together and support the best option available to bounce a CON.
HALDIMAND-NORFOLK : The wife of Harper's right-hand hatchet man Doug Finley, Diane has been getting a little heat for her non-appearances around the riding. She raised the ire of both farmers and citizens of Caledonia for not helping solve a heated battle over land claims. The immigration and citizen minister wouldn't be in trouble in this solid conservative riding if not for the popularity of independent candidate Gary McHale. But the real challenge for Finley falls in the form of Dr. Eric Hoskins, a physician who has travelled the world working in war zones, becoming the youngest recipient of the UN's Lester Pearson Peace Medal.
If Ndp and Green supporters get behind Hoskins in what could be a close battle, the region would replace a Harper bobblehead with a tremendous talent.
REGINA-LUMSDEN-LAKE CTR : Famous for his open-lapel, anti-gay slur in a dusty old video, Harper henchman Tom Lukiwiski made an almost teary-eye apology that was followed by complete indifference for his actions. His caveman-attitude is reflected in a lot of ideas that pass as proposals by this CON corps, so a true message should be delivered, and thankfully Fred Kress, NdP candidate, is the man to deliver it. It's a close battle where the margin of victory was less than 4,000 votes. Liberals and Greens should put their 'X' beside Kress.
EDMONTON-STRATHCONA : Although he has shed his profile as Parliament hill lothario, due to the engagement with fellow CON Helena Guergis, Rahim Jaffer has built up a reputation as an underwhelming but loyal presence in Harper's squad. However, he is the rare Tory who doesn't have his constituents unblinking devotion, thus opening the door for the NdP's Linda Duncan, a renowned advocate and environmental lawyer. It's critical that good Liberal and Green supporters give their support to Duncan to bump this CON duffus.
PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA : Not much needs to be said, other than Mike Harris retread Tony Clement is a meddling moron. By voting for the Liberal's Jamie McGarvey, Clement can be removed from a position where he can do much harm.
SAANICH-GULF ISLANDS : Once again, Harper has thrusted a dangerous imbecile in over his head, with Gary Lunn having already made nuclear safety a risky option in Canada. And what do you think is the CONs' hidden answer to Canada's energy future? You guessed it. All the more reason for NdPers (who lost their candidate just after the deadline) and Greenies to back Dr. Briony Penn of the Liberals. This is a must-do.
OTTAWA-WEST : Here's another ugly reminder of that Harris regime, Johnny Baird. He so happens to be the environment minister, or manager of regressive faux outrage. To knock this redundant greenhouse gas producer from his seat, progressives must move behind Liberal David Pratt. Your wife will thank you, your kids will thank you, as will all God's creatures upon Baird's extinction from the House of Commons.