My parents were visiting me over the last few days to help Elli celebrate her birthday. During the visit we got talking about Canadian politics and my parents wondered how I managed to go from supporting right wing parties when I was a teenager to left wing ones now. I gave some kind of answer that was true but not entirely complete and I figured I would talk a bit about it after some more thought.
I have always had a money demon sitting on my shoulder urging me to scrimp and save, to avoid debt no matter what, to live on the cheap. That informed my teenage political choices to a remarkable degree and I mostly based my affiliation on what party I thought would run a balanced budget and avoid debt. I was one of those single issue voters. The Reform party (now defunct) made that a big part of their platform and so I found them very appealing. I wasn't particularly party loyal though - I was all about fiscal responsibility and thought that was how to get it.
If you actually look at spending history in Canada and the US though you find that right wing parties don't do any better balancing budgets than left wing parties do. Right wing parties tend to lower taxes and spend money on the military, police, and prisons. Left wing parties tend to spend money on social programs, health care, and the environment. Since I only get to pick what sort of ways the government is irresponsible with money I will happily vote for my money to go the left wing route.
More importantly though I broadened my horizons in terms of what I care about in terms of governance. Right wing parties are strongly associated with religious groups, Christianity in particular, and I dislike that intensely. People should of course pursue whatever religion (or lack thereof) they like but politicians should not use religion, especially one particular religion, as their guiding light when governing a nation full of people who do not follow said religion. I don't like the way in which Christian worship is often infused into government and I especially dislike how it is often used as a justification for bigotry by those in power.
That bigotry is another troubling issue for me, religion or no religion. Scapegoating immigrants, marginalizing queer people, and dumping on the poor are pretty standard features of right wing parties. We don't need extra defence for wealthy, straight, white people - they are doing pretty well as it is. As far as I am concerned government should not exist to enforce the current social hierarchy. Rather it should focus on creating as much overall happiness as possible and that goal is best served by helping the downtrodden, not by propping up the oligarchs.
In Canada in particular I don't yet know which party I do support, but it is abundantly clear which party I do not. What my vote will look like next election will depend on what exactly the parties put up as their platforms. After that my riding will go Liberal like it always does and my vote will be of no consequence, as it always is. Democracy!