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Catch 22 - A Voter Powered Campaign to Defeat the Harper Conservatives
April 1, 2011Endorsement process kicks off in Ottawa
Strategic vote strategy spreads to vulnerable Conservative seats
Ottawa, Ont - A national public interest group opposing the Harper government has named 40 ridings across the country where Conservatives won by small margins and could be defeated by strategic voting.
That's the message of the registered Third Party campaign and its website catch22campaign.ca, which has seen traffic jump to more than 1,200 visitors per day since the election was called.
"The fever is building from coast to coast," says Gary Shaul, who launched the campaign and website a year ago. "There have been Catch 22 meetings in Vancouver, Waterloo region, Ottawa and Toronto, with more to come over the next couple of weeks."
Voters will be urged to vote for opposition candidates from a variety of parties as the campaign moves from identifying target ridings to endorsing specific candidates. At a second meeting in Ottawa earlier this week, participants supported the campaign team's recommendation to endorse David Bertschi (Liberal) in Ottawa-Orleans and Anita Vandenbeld (Liberal) in Ottawa West-Nepean. Local organizing began immediately. Catch 22 will also be endorsing a few vulnerable opposition incumbents starting with the
lone opposition member in Alberta, Linda Duncan (NDP), Edmonton-Strathcona.
The name Catch 22 originally referred to the 22 days that Parliament was last prorogued. At first, the site listed 22 ridings in which Conservative MPs had won by less than a 10-per cent margin. As the Harper Conservatives abuses of power increased, so has the number of target ridings, which has grown to almost 40.
Many of the group's activists come from the pro-democracy andvoting reform movements.
"Our electoral system is so out-of-date because we've gone from two parties to several," said Shaul. "So even if 2/3 of Canadians vote against the Conservatives, that vote will be split among several parties - too often allowing the Conservatives to win with minority support.
"Catch 22 is saying what the opposition parties can't say. Voters can take the system into our own hands to minimize vote-splitting and help defeat Conservative MPs," he added. "In targeted ridings this means voting, not for your party of choice necessarily, but for the opposition party with the best chance of defeating the Conservative."
Catch 22's targeted ridings include those of cabinet ministers John Baird and Lawrence Cannon in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, Julian Fantino and Peter Kent in the Toronto area, and Leona Aglukkaq in Nunavut.
Other vulnerable Conservative ridings include Vancouver Island North, Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, Saint Boniface, Fredericton and Egmont, PEI.
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