Effective strategic voting can mean an end to Harper's push for a Parliamentary majority

TORONTO, April 27 /CNW/ - A grassroots national group concerned about what a Stephen Harper majority government would mean for the country today named 15 electoral ridings where it says it will focus its efforts to help stop the Conservatives.

Catch 22 Harper Conservatives, registered with Elections Canada as the independent Third Party Catch 22 Campaign in the election, today urged people to vote for whichever candidate has the greatest chance of defeating the Conservative in their riding.

"A lot of people in the country don't want Harper to get a majority," said Gary Shaul, Catch 22's chair. "They don't approve of things like the unnecessary prisons, the hugely expensive fighter jets, sky high deficits and Harper's lack of respect for Parliamentary democracy."

The group believes Monday's vote is perhaps the most important election in modern times in Canada.

Catch 22, which is not affiliated with any political party, is recommending that Canadians in target ridings vote strategically - instead of voting for the candidate who might normally have been their choice - so that vote splitting does not permit the Conservative to come up the middle and win.

"The NDP surge has moved the party into second place in the polls," said Nick Fillmore, "but this hasn't changed the importance of voting strategically to stop a Harper majority.

"If people don't vote strategically," said Fillmore, a Catch 22 organizer, "the danger is that the New Democrat, Liberal and Green votes will split and the Tories will walk through the middle and win enough seats to go over the top."

Because of Canada's outdated electoral system, Harper could win a majority of seats in Parliament while only garnering as little as 37 per cent of the popular vote. Many other progressive countries have adopted some form of Proportional Representation system, a voting system that prevents a party from forming a government with such small support from the general public.

"The strategy was devised more than a year ago as a campaign that would take a pro-democracy message to voters in their communities as a central part of a winning formula," said Shaul.

While Catch 22 is making voter recommendations in more than 50 ridings - all of which are important - it is focusing its resources on 15 high priority ridings from the 50-plus where it believes a strong strategic voting turnout can play a huge role in stopping a Harper majority. Some are ridings won by opposition candidates in the 2008 election who are targeted by the Conservatives and need a boost to win again this time.

Catch 22 is launching its telephone campaign today which is expected to reach thousands of voters in the last days of the campaign. It is also using newspaper ads to get its message to voters. Volunteers in all target ridings are being encouraged to step up the distribution of flyers.

Here is Catch 22's list of high priority ridings:

[BC] Saanich—Gulf Islands - Elizabeth May (Green)
[BC] Burnaby—Douglas - Kennedy Stewart (NDP)
[BC] Surrey North - Jasbir Sandhu (NDP)
[BC] Vancouver South - Ujjal Dosanjh (Lib)
[AB] Edmonton—Strathcona - Linda Duncan (NDP)
[SK] Saskatoon—Rosetown— Biggar - Nettie Wiebe (NDP)
[ON] Guelph - Frank Valeriote (Lib)
[ON] Kitchener—Waterloo - Andrew Telegdi (Lib)
[ON] Kitchener Centre - Karen Redman (Lib)
[ON] Welland - Malcolm Allen (NDP)
[ON] Mississauga—Erindale - Omar Alghabra (Lib)
[ON] Ottawa—Orléans - David Bertschi (Lib)
[ON] Oak Ridges-Markhan - Lui Temelkovski (Lib)
[NB] Saint John - Stephen Chase (Lib)
[NS] West Nova - Robert Thibault (Lib)

For the full list of more than 50 recommended ridings, visit our website: http://catch22campaign.ca/notes

More and more people are joining Catch 22's website while thousands of visitors are dropping by daily to check out the list of target ridings and read the group's unique election commentary. The group's Facebook "likers" and Twitter followers are also on a steep climb.

SOURCE Catch 22

For further information:

Catch 22 Media Toll Free Number 1-855-228-2488 Ext 1

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Catch 22

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