Christian Heritage Party Leader, Jim Hnatiuk, became the first candidate to register for the by-election call in the federal riding of Cumberland--Colchester--Musquodoboit Valley (CCMV).This looks like the best opportunity we've had in years to give a strongly pro-life, pro-family party a voice in Parliament. The by-election takes place in the new CHP leader's home riding. The riding itself is not just a Conservative stronghold, but one of the most Socially Conservative ridings in Canada. And, with the official Conservative candidate being a social Liberal, Jim is the only pro-life, pro-family candidate in the riding.
The businessman and retired military officer says, "I'm ready to serve the constituents of CCMV with a strong voice, just as Bill Casey did. I'm proud to live in and serve in a riding where the voters are not afraid to speak with an independent voice, and choose the candidate that will best represent them in Ottawa.
"CHP Canada has policies that would strengthen Cumberland-Colchester Musqudoboit Valley, and I believe this by-election will be about more than what the "major" parties have to offer. Voters here have proved that they are willing to look for and choose the candidate who has the best blueprint for governing. Our campaign will be about offering 'Better Solutions' to the serious issues that face us. There are better ways to 'do' politics in Canada, and I believe voters are ready for those better solutions," says Candidate Hnatiuk. "I believe voters are going to look hard at the policies to determine what is best for them and the country. And I believe voters will discover that the CHP's policies are the best.
But what about vote splitting? What about all those objections such as "your activism can ruin our chance to win majority" or "because of your activism we can end up with a Liberal government"?
Well, let's not forget - it's a by-election. It's not going to change the balance of power. Even if the Conservatives win all the 4 seats (which is extremely unlikely to happen,) that won't give them majority. And vice-versa - even if every single seat is won by the opposition parties - they'll merely get what they used to have several months ago. Vote splitting or no vote splitting, it will still be a Conservative minority government with Stephen Harper remaining Prime Minister and Michael Ignatieff — the Leader of the Opposition.
If anything - vote splitting can actually help Jim win the riding. After all - it's the moderate/centre/left camp that is going to have as many as 4 candidates on the ballot. Considering that there's no incumbent; considering that lower turnout usually benefits smaller parties (such as the NDP and the Greens,) this could become a close 4-way race. And, if Jim's campaign team succeeds in making it a 5-way race, then even 22-25% support could be enough for victory. Number-wise, for a riding with 68,000 registered voters (of which only 20,000-25,000 voters are likely to come to the polls,) that means - ~4,500 to 6,500 votes.
Can a CHP candidate expect to get that many? Jim Hnatiuk received about 1,400 votes in the 2006 election, placing ahead of the Green party candidate. That was a general election, when the question who would become the next Prime Minister was crucial. Then, being on Harper's team mattered more than the candidate's personal views, because a Conservative loss in just 11 constituencies could have resulted in yet another Paul Martin's government, but this time - in coalition with the NDP. And yet even then, Jim Hnatiuk managed to win ~1,400 votes.
If he could win that many back then, he can look forward to win 4-5 times as many now, when the balance of power is set, when lower turnout gives more weight to an individual vote and when it's values and policies that matter, not merely electing yet another backbencher to someone's team. And, when it comes to values, policies and the proposed solutions, Jim Hnatiuk is a candidate that both Social and Fiscal Conservatives can count on.