I’m breaking a cardinal rule taught to me by my parents — talking about politics in public with strangers.
But with the election mere weeks away, I feel compelled to weigh in on this.
Where I come from, people tend to vote the same way they always have, supporting the same party year after year while shunning those who would dare to vote differently. It’s almost a family tradition to pass down your political leanings to your children, with the expectation they’ll follow suit and vote for the same party.
I’m not here to convince you to vote a certain way or to advocate against any party or politician. Everyone has their own researching and soul-searching to do, myself included.
If anything, I want to do the opposite and argue no one should identify as a supporter of a specific party unless they are a candidate. Because, the fact of the matter is no matter who gets your vote in this election, our goals are all the same — a prosperous and thriving future for Canada and all of its residents.
No one takes the time to vote for a party they don’t support just to stick it to Canada, hoping the worst will happen and our country and government will topple.
So, why do we act like this is the case when we find out someone has different political leanings than us?
Every party and politician involved in this year’s election has made mistakes — some more unsettling than others — and not one of them is perfect.
It is naive for voters to think the leader of the party they choose to support as our future prime minister is the perfect person for the job because no one is.
All the candidates running in the election have missteps, blemishes, screw-ups and blunders on their records, even if they aren’t all in public view.
So we need to stop with this party-allegiance rhetoric and stop propagating the idea that there is a clearcut candidate and party who will best serve Canada. Instead, we need to start thinking about the issues facing our great nation and how we’d like to see them addressed.
We need to consider campaign platforms, and whether or not those promises are achievable in the time frame laid out.
It’s time to leave behind the days of associating with one political party over another and approach elections by prioritizing the issues that will either make or break us in the long run. And you’ll find the answer is not black and white, but a shade of grey in a wide spectrum. Certain parties will better identify solutions for specific issues than others.
Narrowing your vote shouldn’t be an easy task. You’ll likely find components you support in all the platforms. So, that means figuring out what is most important to you — whether it’s industry, the environment, foreign affairs, First Nations relations or a plethora of other issues the parties are addressing and prioritizing.
Don’t just vote for the party you’ve long supported and tied your wagon to years before.
Take the time to research all of your options and see what best aligns with your views and beliefs. And remember, those views will likely change over the years. Things that mattered to you 10 years ago may not be a consideration for you today. And this is not something you will do just once in your lifetime.
If we all adopted this concept, maybe we could leave behind the days of hating someone because they don’t support the same party or leader we do.
Instead, we can have candid conversations about worthwhile issues such as how Canada will fight climate change, our nation’s role in providing foreign aid, our responsibility to provide clean drinking water to First Nations, and what the future holds for our nation’s oil and gas industry.
And maybe then it will be easier to have these kinds of conversations that we were previously taught not to discuss, I’m just saying.
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Jordyn Thomson is a reporter with the Penticton Western News.