It’s election time again. Since I became a Canadian citizen in 2006, this is the second federal election that I get to vote in, and I’m looking forward to it.
Why would writing an X beside a candidate’s name be so exciting, you ask? The way I see it, this is one of the few ways that my action could directly affect the future of this country. Why would anyone not want to take advantage of that?
Unfortunately, if you look at the voter turnout in Canada in the past few years, there’s no denying that voter apathy is growing in this country. From an all time high of 79.4 per cent in 1958, the last federal election in 2008 was a record low at 58.8 per cent.
Especially troubling is the number of young Canadians who are becoming increasingly apathetic to the democratic process—only 37.4 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 24 voted in the last federal election.
But lest we be so quick to judge the younger voters, consider this: if this trend, regardless of age, continues (and it’s looking like it will), this federal election could have the lowest turnout yet. An Ipsos-Reid poll reports that only 57 per cent are committed to voting this year.
What’s with the growing apathy among voters? A person I know said that he does care about Canada’s future—what he doesn’t like are the candidates.
Fair enough. With every political party guilty of broken promises, hidden agendas, not quite the right priorities and what-have-you, it’s not surprising many voters are jaded and simply take the ostrich approach when Election Day comes. In fact, “Didn’t like parties/candidates” was the second highest reason given by non-voters in the 2000 election; first was “Just not interested.”
And granted, with such a vast country as ours, it’s easy to lose the connection between what’s happening in Ottawa and how that affects life here in our small Sun Peaks community. But that’s not an excuse not to vote.
Others are too busy. Some people may not be aware of it, but did you know that employers are mandated by law to provide three consecutive hours for employees to vote on Election Day?
The truth is, there’s not going to be one perfect candidate or political party—it’s just not going to happen. But forget about the candidates—what are the issues that you care about?
Start with what’s important to you—is it health care, the economy, the environment, all of the above? Then find the closest match to the platforms offered by each of the candidates. Finally, and most importantly, on May 2, take five minutes and head to our very own polling station at the Burfield Lodge and cast your vote.