Recently my nephew posted a comment about the upcoming federal election on his Facebook page. “We’re being gamed on all the issues,” he said. “Please don’t vote. Politics is a fraud. We deserve better.”
It bothers me when I hear people today dismiss the vote so easily. History has shown us that people, both male and female, have literally given their lives so that others could vote in a free and democratic election.
Ironically, it is the democratic process that allows us to freely express our political opinions, just as my nephew did, without serious personal consequences. Democracy, and the freedom to engage in open dialogue, is one of the benefits of being Canadian and a reason why so many from other countries hope to live here one day. Maintaining our democratic freedoms is reason enough to cast your ballot.
But it’s also important to remember that voting is more than a one-sided process where politicians dictate to us what we should be concerned about and how we should live. Yes, there are politicians who will try to game us in any number of ways. However, I personally believe that most Canadians, like my nephew, are too well-informed, too sophisticated, and too intelligent not to see through these tactics. (To become better informed on all of the party platforms go to http://www.polenize.org/canada for a guide to the 2015 election.)
This is our election. We are the ones who get to choose who runs this country, not the politicians. Voting is more than a right. It is our responsibility as citizens living in a democratic society.
Refusing to cast a ballot is not a form of political protest. It is simply losing your say. It allows others to impose their vision of Canada on you.
So don’t withhold your vote. Make a commitment to cast your ballot on October 19. Go to www.votenation.ca to encourage others to do the same. If you’re not sure whether you’re registered, go to www.elections.ca for more information and to register online.