Less than 72 hours after posting my personal rationalization of strategic voting in my riding, I am abandoning the premise, at least for this time around.
Why? Mostly because the strategic candidate in my riding doesn't appear to need any help. He is not only the incumbent, but also a cabinet minister. His Wildrose challenger initially tried to garner support by raffling off a big-screen TV in exchange for people putting up his lawn signs, and the Twitter feed on his webpage makes numerous refences to free food.
It's hardly scientific, but I have seen exactly one lawn sign from the Wildrose candidate that wasn't in a park or boulevard, whereas the PC has a strong presence on lawns and private fences all over the neighbourhood (in addition to strong representations along sidewalks, in ditches, etc).
In the end, what differentiates strategic from tactical thinking is simply the scope of the timeframe you are looking at. In my case, where my primary objective of keeping the Wildrose from forming the government appears to already be met, I want to send a message to the next actual 'progressive' candidate. A message that at least one person appreciates their platform, or embraces their ideology.
In the end, I feel much better voting for something as opposed to against it.
Regardless of your feelings or ideologies, I hope you take advantage of this historic election and get out to vote today if you live in Alberta!