Voting is a democratic right and privilege. It is your one opportunity to have a say in the direction you want Canada to go, and while apathy seems like an easy alternative, it hurts our democratic process and you are more likely to be unhappy with the results.
Yes, the campaign rhetoric and electioneering hype seem like just so much drama and posturing that has been unlikely to lead to action if/when elected. That can definitely be disillusioning and defeating. But the only way to create change is by being persistent and perhaps by voting for change in our electoral system. Thanks to the internet, there are ways to cut through all that and focus on what really matters: the underlying beliefs and philosophies that drive all the rhetoric as well as the action that follows.
Billions of dollars are invested in campaigning. Let’s be responsible voters and spend an hour or so educating ourselves so we can make a thoughtful, well-considered decision at the polls. Don’t just vote the way you’ve always voted or vote the way your parents/partners/friends do. Decide for yourself what’s important to you and which party best represents that. Here are a couple of websites that can help clarify which party best reflects your own views: canada.isidewith.com/political-quiz or votecompass.cbc.ca.
Each quiz asks a series of questions about various issues, then tells you which party’s ideology or platform matches your answers best. It’ll take about 15-30 minutes, but it is time well spent. Once you have found out which party is the best match for you, you can focus on what that party is saying, or compare its candidates to others. If you are still in doubt, you can choose some specific issues that are dear to your heart and focus on those, or choose to vote strategically (check out leadnow.ca, votetogether.ca or dogwoodinitiative.org for guidance).
If you don’t like any of the options on the ballot, you can even express that opinion by voting and spoiling your ballot. While it won’t influence the overall outcome, even a spoiled ballot is considered a vote and a statement. Ballots are spoiled when you choose no option, more than one option, or mark/write across the entire ballot.
If you need information about where or when to vote, or about the candidates in your riding, check out Elections Canada at www.elections.ca. And if you need a ride to the polling station, your local candidate’s office may be able to help.
Please exercise your right and privilege in this election, especially if you are concerned about the status quo: the steady erosion of Canadian health and social benefits, environmental protection, scientific excellence, global reputation, and democracy; or the steady rise in wealth and power of the top 10 per cent and corporations at the expense of the middle class and poor.
I don’t know about you, but this is not the mercenary Canada I remember or want. And it’s true: all it takes for evil to win is for good people to do nothing. Don’t be one of those good people who do nothing, please vote!