How I Voted: The Federal Election

I’m revealing how I voted in the 2015 Federal Election in the interest of transparency in my journalism. This is not an endorsement, merely a disclosure which is done in an abundance of openness. To quote from my previous posts on this topic:

I’m an independent journalist who values transparency with my readers. I also value individual privacy – including my own.
We are all entitled to the secret ballot, and I support those journalists who do not reveal how that vote in protection of individual privacy.
I do not support journalists who don’t vote – either by not attending the polls or leaving their ballots blank in a claim of false neutrality.
We, citizens, are called on to make a decision to choose one candidate for each office. It’s a difficult decision, one that requires us to get informed.
Yes, we vote from our bias. I vote from my bias.

[Why I reveal my vote] I think it’s a important measure of transparency, especially because I’m the cook, server, and chief bottle washer of my media outlet.

In the Municipal election, I did not disclose how I voted until one minute before polls closed. I didn’t wish to influence anyone’s vote.

During this federal election, I doubt I’m in a position to influence anyone on how to vote. My reasons for voting are very personal and specific. If you are voting based upon the same reasoning, and in the same riding, you’ve already decided how you are casting your ballot.

I’m a journalist, privacy advocate, open data activist, and civil libertarian. Those are the primary bias that direct how I voted.

Just voted. I voted to Repeal C51 and stop the expansion of spy state. Press Freedom needs a society free of intrusive state surveillance

— Joey Coleman (@JoeyColeman) October 11, 2015

This election was the easiest for me to choose how to vote because of the significant differences on this issues between the parties.

Civil liberties are crucial to a democratic society, from these freedoms flow our quality of life and all that I value in our society.

I oppose Bill C51 which is a direct attack upon freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and privacy. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression are fighting Bill C51 in court and have extensive coverage of how C51 threatens our civil liberties and journalism on their website.

Only the NDP and Green Party voted against C51 in the House of Commons.

In my own riding of Hamilton Centre, the NDP candidate made my choice easy. I voted for David Christopherson of the NDP.

Now that I’ve published the spoiler, you can choose to read further my thoughts on the race in my riding.

This is one of the easiest voting disclosure posts I’ve ever written – maybe the easiest I’ll ever write – as I know each of the candidates in my riding will respect my choice and understand my personal reasoning. In fact, I believe their support of my journalism will be enhanced by this post – they are honestly all of that calibre and good character.

Hamilton Centre

My riding is Hamilton Centre, held by long-time Hamilton political heavyweight David Christopherson of the NDP.

Christopherson is a quintessential blue collar Hamilton politician. Nobody wins over a Hamilton blue collar crowd like he does [YouTube]. He’s going to win the riding for as long as he chooses to continue running.

In a way, having him as my local representative in our first-past-the-post system means I can choose to vote for any candidate without changing the outcome.

I’ve known Christopherson since 1995, voted for him repeatedly in the past, observed how effective he is as Deputy Leader of the NDP during the past parliament, how hard he works, and I know the passion he’ll bring into what I expect will be a minority parliament. While C51 and civil liberties dominated my choice this election, I normally vote based upon the local candidate and I believe I would’ve voted for Christopherson unless the NDP were fundamentally opposed to civil liberties.

Anne Tennier is the Liberal candidate in my riding. Hard working and intelligent, she is easily the most appealing of the local Liberal candidates in Hamilton. Anne’s personal popularity in the riding wasn’t reflected in the 2011 results, mostly because she appeals to the same demographic as Christopherson and blue collar Hamilton is a loyal constituency. Tennier’s run an impressive campaign, putting together a campaign organization that includes progressive conservatives and socialist liberals – very similar to the Big Red Machine of the Sheila Copps era of Hamilton politics.

The individual attributes and record of Tennier made it very difficult for me to not vote for her. Frankly, if David Christopherson wasn’t running, I could see myself voting for Tennier even with her parties support of Bill C51 – that’s how strong of a candidate she is and how much of an asset she will be when she makes it to the House of Commons. Watch for Tennier to take the riding when Christopherson retires.

Yonatan Rozenszajn is the Conservative candidate in Hamilton Centre. He’s working hard in this race, in a riding a Conservative is just as likely to win as the Expos are to make it to the World Series. While it is commendable that he is attending public forums that other Conservative candidates shun his hard work is countered by his almost robotic delivery of Conservative talking points.

Rozenszajn does his long term political aspirations little favour by introducing himself to a wider Hamilton Centre / Ward Two audience as a Harper candidates when he is in fact a Red Tory. Rozenszajn is an active member of the Durand Neighbourhood Association, serves on its executive and earned much respect among the leaders of neighbourhood movements in Ward Two for his work. We’ll see what long-term implications his choice of being a Harper Conservative in Hamilton Centre will have.

The Tories can win Hamilton Centre if they brought themselves back to the Red Tory part of the political spectrum. And if you think that statement is absurd, I have two names for you: Lincoln Alexander and Ellen Fairclough

For my part, Rozenszajn remains on my list of possible candidates I’ll vote for Ward Two Councillor in 2018. (I reside in Ward Two)

Ute Schmid-Jones is the first-time Green Party candidate with long-time banner holder Peter Ormond moving to the new riding of Hamilton West Ancaster Dundas. I had a great conversation with Schmid-Jones early in the campaign. She recently moved herself and her business to Hamilton from the Midland area where she was heavily involved in community initiatives. This was my first introduction to her in our community and I’m expecting we’ll she much from her in the coming years in Hamilton’s civic life.

It wouldn’t be an election in Hamilton without perennial candidate Michael Baldasaro who is carrying the Marijuana Party of Canada banner. I had a fever and cold on the night of the Hamilton Centre debate, so I missed his performance. Here’s the thing about Baldasaro – he’s a smart man who holds other candidates to account. This, on its own, is a valuable public service.

Also running in my riding, who I didn’t have the chance to meet, are Maria Anastasiou as an independent and Rob Young for the Libertarian Party of Canada.

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