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“Democracy is not a spectator sport, it's a participatory event. If we don't participate in it, it ceases to be a democracy.” Michael Moore.

By the time some of you read this editorial, 4.7 million Canadians have already decided which party they wish to see in power. According to Elections Canada, a new record for advance polling was set, a whopping 29% increase since last federal elections. Monday, October 14, saw the largest numbers of voter turnout, 1.6 million.

The latest polls suggest a two-way race between the Liberals and the Conservatives, and it will most likely be a minority government.

There are total of twenty-one parties in the running for the top post, some of the little-known parties such as the Animal Protection Party, to Marijuana Party, from Stop Climate Change to Parti Rhinocéros Party, and of course the usual, the Green Party, the NDP, the Liberals and the Conservatives, which have the candidates running in each riding in Canada.

From our community’s perspective, one of the ways to measure party’s acceptability of Muslim issues is to look at how many Muslim candidates each party has provided an opportunity to become lawmakers. In total sixty-five Muslim candidates across Canada vying to become the future lawmakers at the federal level.

We as a community must bear in mind when voting as to which party does have the interests of the Canadian Muslims when voting, and which party will be best to serve the interests of the Muslim community if elected.

Hands down, both the Liberals, and the NDP are far ahead of all other parties combined, including the independents, in terms of Muslim participation in candidacy selection.

The NDP is the front runner, with eighteen Muslim candidates across the country, with fourteen in battle ground Ontario, three in Quebec, and one in Alberta.

However, the Liberals deserve just as much credit, with total of seventeen Muslim candidates afforded opportunities to become the lawmakers, ten in battleground Ontario, several of them incumbents, two in Quebec, three in Alberta, one in Saskatchewan, and one in British Columbia.

The Conservatives, a distant third of among the three main parties with eight candidates in total across Canada, with six in Ontario, one in Quebec and Alberta respectively.

The Green Party has seven Muslim candidates, three in Quebec and Ontario, and one in Alberta.

Surprisingly, Peoples Party of Canada also has six Muslim candidates in the running, with four in Ontario, and one in Quebec, and BC.

A little-known party, Canada’s Forth Front has four Muslim candidates, with three in Ontario, and one in Alberta.

There are also Muslim candidates running as independents, two in Quebec, two in Ontario, and one in BC.

From a Muslim Canadian perspective, it can be said that the Liberals, since it has Muslim candidates who are also incumbents, is in the best position, to serve the needs of the Canadian Muslim community.

In addition, the Liberals under Hon. PM Justin Trudeau’s leadership of inclusiveness “A Canadian is a Canadian, is a Canadian, is a Canadian,” have proven themselves over the past four years to be the best safeguard against the backdrop of the divisive politics of the Harper era, which is certainly being extended under the current Conservative leadership. 

Although given the current political climate and such tight race where one leading party of the centre-right versus numerous parties to the centre-left, the progressive vote is being divided, and if Muslim voters do not vote intelligently or strategically, we could end up seeing the return of 2011 elections results. This would be the most detrimental outcome for not only the Muslim community rather all minorities in Canada.

The Muslim and minority community voters need to realize and understand the fact that the current Conservative party of Canada is a nothing more than a repackaged version of the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-everything, far-right neocons from the Reform Party of Canada to fool Canadians into voting for them.

The present-day Conservatives are not the same as the former Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (PC) consisting of both the “Red Conservatives” – Conservatives politicians and leaders who were closed to the center. The Progressive Conservatives has been long dead since 2004, when it was hijacked by the far-Right Neocons of the Reform Party of Canada, converting itself into the Canadian Alliance and eventually dubbing themselves as the “Conservatives.”

The voters need to realize and understand that where the far-right neocons under the banner of the Conservatives have done an amazing job in consolidating the far-right movement in Canada, under a neutral well-known banner. Unfortunately, the center-left voters have divided themselves under numerous banners to the detriment of the two main leading centre-left voices, the Liberals and the NDP.

Unless the sanity prevails and the two-leading centre-left, the Liberals and the NDP discovers a common ground and unite the Centre-left progressive vote, the progressive voices in Canada will continue to suffer and pushed into silence by the neo-cons disguised as “Progressive” at the helm of the Conservatives. Although there is nothing “progressive” about them, to the point when the Progressive Conservatives folded in 2004, the neocons insisted on removing the term “Progressive” from the party’s name and won.

Until such time, it is left up to us, the voters, to determine the best course in order to maximize the power of our vote to ensure that the centre-left progressive vote is not silenced.

The results on October 21, will be a nail-biter with more than sixty seats across Canada which could ultimately seal the fate of the elections and which party will form the government, ten of them are located right here in BC. In lower mainland, they are Vancouver Granville, Jody Wilson, vs. Taleeb Noormohamed, Burnaby North, Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, North Vancouver, Vancouver Kingsway, Richmond Steveston, Fleetwood-Port Kells, South Surrey-White Rock, Richmond Centre, among them.

We therefore remind our community members, go out and vote, every vote count. The only vote which does not count is the one you did not cast. In a tight race such as this, it is imperative for each member of our community to ensure they go out and vote and VOTE INTELLIGENTLY!