A couple of days ago, my friend Andrea directed my attention to Anti-Harper Vote Swap Canada. It's a Facebook group that allows Canadians living in different federal ridings to trade votes, in an effort to prevent Conservative candidates from benefiting from vote-splitting.
In other words, hey, Liberal supporter in Toronto - the NDP has the best chance of keeping that seat out of the hands of the Tories. I'm an NDP supporter in BC, but in my riding the Liberal has the best chance of defeating the Tory candidate. Tell you what - I'll hold my nose and vote Liberal in my riding, if you'll hold your nose and vote NDP in your riding. We may not be happy with the MPs we get in our particular ridings, but hey, we'll be helping ensure that Harper doesn't get a majority.
If this kind of thing catches on, it could really subvert the first-past-the-post electoral system we have now - the one that enables parties with less than half the popular vote to form huge majority governments. Since we're not getting proportional representation anytime soon, it seems to me that this just might put some real power in the hands of the people and help stem the rising tide of voter apathy.
Unfortunately, I do not live in either of the two Alberta ridings in which this system could make any difference. But if you live in Edmonton Centre or Edmonton Strathcona, where the Tories have historically earned fewer votes than the left-of-centre parties combined...well, you might want to check it out.
It might be a great idea but it'll only make a difference if many more than just a scattered handful of people ever hear of it.
Hell, most people, myself included, don't know how to use eBay and everyone's heard of eBay. There's also the fact that not many people are actually on Facebook and that Facebook's fucking confusing and so that represents a further barrier to entry.
What they need is a story about it on the evening news and in the major newspapers.
"There's also the fact that not many people are actually on Facebook"
One in four Canadians is on Facebook. http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/284017
"What they need is a story about it on the evening news and in the major newspapers."
You mean like the CBC? http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/story/2008/09/12/facebook-vote-swap.html
With uber-popular "site of the moment" web services like Facebook and Myspace before it, the raw number of users is a misleading statistic. What's not as easy to measure, but much more important to consider, is how many of those people who have a Facebook profile and actually use it.
I'm aware of many people who signed up for a Facebook account out of curiosity because they heard about it from their kids/friends/coworkers/etc... but they've never been back to the site since. In a way it's like the "Snakes on a Plane" effect.
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