Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but it pains me to think that two of the main political parties can’t figure out the basic math to give progressive voters better representation in parliament. When are the Liberals and the NDP going to learn from the Conservatives and admit that what differences they have are far less significant than what they have in common? The Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives decided years ago to put their egos aside and merge to form the Conservative Party of Canada. What happened? The party won two minority governments after the 2006 federal election and a majority in 2011. Meanwhile, the Liberals and the NDP fight for the same left-of-centre turf, wasting time and energy barking up two different trees when most constituents would be much more interested in seeing some kind of olive branch being offered. Our broken, first-past-the-post electoral system, plus the progressive parties’ refusal to play in the same sandbox, means that many Canadians have to get strategic if they want their values to be represented in parliament. Voting strategically might seem like a bit of a cop-out to one’s true leanings, but on election day, politics is about numbers, not niceties. Get your guy or gal in, then you can start splitting hairs about immigration policy or child care benefits. Here in Yellowhead, we haven’t been pegged as a swing riding, but I think that’s only because the landslide Conservative victories for the past 30 years have put us off the radar for the nation’s major media outlets. The 2014 by-election, wherein the Grits got 20 per cent of the vote, make Yellowhead a more interesting riding than most pollsters would predict. It’s with that factor in mind, plus the idea that the NDP honeymoon in Alberta is waning, that we’re advocating a strategic vote for the Liberals’ Ryan Maguhn. Maguhn has proven to be on point with his answers at the all-candidates forums, he’s able to connect local issues to national debates and he seems to understand that the job of MP is something you earn, rather than inherit. He’s likeable: he is tuned-in on social media, yet he’s got an old-fashioned earnestness that gives you confidence he’d work on your behalf. Most importantly, however, he’s got the best chance to unseat the incumbent—who, it should be said, is akin to the uncle you see at Thanksgiving: nice to visit with, but far off when it comes to political priorities. The Jasper Local is proud of our local candidate, the NDP’s Ken Kuzminski, for putting his name forward. Kuzminski is well-versed in the national issues and has a solid track record as a community builder, but Maguhn has a more robust team and more experience as a politician. If progressive Yellowhead voters—whether orange, red or green—cast their ballot strategically, there will be a better chance that the values they share will be represented. And if voters can learn to compromise, perhaps politicians will be next.