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Strategic Deal in 16 Key Ridings Can Scuttle Harper: Tech Pro

Data cruncher details how parties, voters could work together to beat Tories.

By David Beers 10 Oct 2015 |

David Beers is founding editor of The Tyee.

A Vancouver-based technology entrepreneur has energized the Anybody But Harper movement this election with a 16-riding proposal to snatch victory from the Conservatives.

A robotics and computer visioning expert, Ali Kashani usually uses his data-crunching skills inventing systems that save energy and digitize photos. Now he has identified 16 ridings he says hold the key to which party, the Conservatives or the Liberals, will win a minority government on Oct. 19.

In those ridings, either an NDP or Liberal candidate is running closely behind the Conservative. Kashani challenges the Liberal and the NDP parties to agree that whoever is running third in those 16 ridings will have their candidates endorse the stronger non-Conservative opponent instead.

He also charts poll projections in those ridings to help people vote strategically to prevent the election of another Harper government.

"By latest projections, the Conservatives will win over half of their seats (65 of them) thanks to 'vote splitting,'" writes Kashani, in an article published earlier this week on the site Medium, and picked up by Huffington Post Canada.

"These are ridings that will be won by the Conservatives even though the total progressive vote is more than 50 per cent. The easiest way to change the election result is by getting the progressive parties to cooperate and claim back a small portion of these seats.

"The good news," calculates Kashani, "is that there are 16 ridings that will swing this election!"

If Kashani's strategy succeeds, the Liberals would win 126 seats, the Conservatives just 106, and the NDP 104.

Kashani's article, headlined "There Is Actually a Way to Guarantee Harper's Defeat," includes four British Columbia swing ridings among his list of 16.

In each, his proposed approach could deprive the Conservatives of a seat and deliver eight to the Liberals and eight to the NDP. Kashani urges citizens to apply pressure to the campaign contacts he provides, and to vote strategically.

Kashani's list:


These are the ridings where the NDP supporters must vote for the Liberal Party candidate:

Brampton Centre (ON)
Ask NDP candidate Rosemary Keenan to endorse Liberal's Ramesh Sangha:
Twitter: @rosemary_k_ndp

Aurora -- Oak Ridges -- Richmond Hill (ON)
Ask NDP candidate Brenda Power to endorse Liberal's Leona Alleslev:
Twitter: @brendapowerndp

Saint John -- Rothesay (NB)
Ask NDP candidate AJ Griffin to endorse Liberal's Wayne Long:
Twitter: @angelajogriffin

Bay of Quinte (ON)
Ask NDP candidate Terry Cassidy to endorse Liberal's Neil Ellis:
Twitter: @BayofQuinteNDP

Vaughan -- Woodbridge (ON)
Ask NDP candidate Adriana Zichy to endorse Liberal's Francesco Sorbara

Haldimand -- Norfolk (ON)
Ask NDP candidate John Harris to endorse Liberal's Joan Mouland:

Northumberland -- Peterborough South (ON)
Ask NDP candidate Russ Christianson to endorse Liberal's Kim Rudd:
Twitter: @RussNDP

King -- Vaughan (ON)
Ask NDP candidate Natalie Rizzo to endorse Liberal's Deb Schulte:
Twitter: @nataliemrizzo


These are the ridings where the Liberal Party supporters must vote for the NDP candidate:

Jonquiere (QB)
Ask Liberal candidate Marc Pettersen to endorse NDP's Karine Trudel:

Cariboo -- Prince George (BC)
Ask Liberal candidate Tracy Calogheros to endorse NDP's Trent Derrick:
Twitter: @TracyCalogheros

Regina -- Qu'Appelle (SK)
Ask Liberal candidate Della Anaquod to endorse NDP's Nial Kuyek:
Twitter: @teamdella2015

Edmonton Griesbach (AB)
Ask Liberal candidate Brian Gold to endorse NDP's Janis Irwin:
Twitter: @votebriangold

Mission -- Matsqui -- Fraser Canyon (BC)
Ask Liberal candidate Jati Sidhu to endorse NDP's Dennis Adamson:
Twitter: @VoteJatiSidhu

Coquitlam -- Port Coquitlam (BC)
Ask Liberal candidate Ron McKinnon to endorse NDP's Sara Norman:
Twitter: @RonMcKinnonLib

North Okanagan -- Shuswap (BC)
Ask Liberal candidate Cindy Derkaz to endorse NDP's Jacqui Gingras:
Twitter: @CDerkaz

Essex (ON)
Ask Liberal candidate Audrey Festeryga to endorse NDP's Tracey Ramsey:
Twitter: @AudreyFesteryga

Tiny fraction of voters could swing election

Strategic voting, and its corollary for no-chance candidates, strategic withdrawal, are controversial practices, Kashani acknowledges. (See Green candidate Lynne Quarmby's rebuttal against strategic withdrawal here.) Kashani argues:

"Strategic voting is a politically aware populace's solution to systematic electoral defects." He acknowledges in many ridings the races are too close to be able to reliably make a strategic choice, but says the 16 ridings he has identified don't apply because the gap between the second place candidate and the Conservative leader is tight, and the third place candidate clearly is not "within striking distance."

He notes his approach "only requires the cooperation of one-fifth of one per cent of voters (0.18 per cent), and every strategic vote for one party is offset by a vote for the other, thus not changing the overall popular vote outcome. With limited resources for grassroots organization, focusing on a small set of ridings where voters face the least amount of emotional resistance is the most effective way to make strategic voting work in Canada."

In his argument, Kashani does not mention the Greens, currently polling under five per cent nationally. Other advocates of strategic voting, however, have noted that in some races the Green vote could siphon enough anti-Harper votes to deliver a victory to the Conservative candidate.

Along with a chart showing the projected vote percentages per party in all 16 ridings, Kashani offers a four-pronged call to action that is gaining traction via social media:

"Calls, emails, and social media campaigns directed at the leaders of the progressive parties are the best ways to advocate their cooperation:

Liberal Party: 1.888.542.3725,, @JustinTrudeau
NDP: 1.866.525.2555,, @ThomasMulcair

"A petition asking party leaders to cooperate has already garnered over 8,500 signatures.

"We should also encourage the third-place candidates in the 16 ridings to endorse their progressive peers…. "Finally, if you are a voter in these ridings, vote strategically! Share this with your friends and neighbours, and encourage them to do the same."

Find Kashani's original article on Medium here.  [Tyee]

Read more: Politics, Election 2015

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