In a few weeks, Canadians will be headed back to the polls. On voting day, I urge every voter to get out and exercise their right to make a choice for which leader and party will form our next government, and thus shape our national agenda for the immediate future.
Elections matter, and voting matters.
In the last election, voter turnout at 68.5 per cent was higher than it had been since 1993, but that is still 31.5 per cent of voters who couldn’t be bothered to vote. Trudeau and Liberal Party rode to victory in that election, having captured 39.5 per cent of the vote. However, factoring in voter turnout means Trudeau gained his victory from only 27 per cent of Canadian voters, just slightly more than a quarter of the potential Canadian voting population.
Our electoral system, which permits these kinds of election results, is the reason why Trudeau, when he was just the leader of an opposition party, vowed to overhaul the electoral system if he became prime minister. Of course, we all know that after he was elected prime minister, he quickly dropped his promised revision of the electoral system like a hot potato. Why wouldn’t he? The system worked for him, as it has for all prime ministers elected before him. For better or worse, this is the system that we are stuck with in this upcoming election.
This is why it is so important for us all to do our civic duty and vote. I’ve never really understood voter apathy. What do people not get about the fact that every vote counts? I’ve written about this previously, and named ridings where the vote distribution between the candidates came down to just a handful of votes marking the winner from the loser. Yes, folks, this is the real world. A candidate will win his/her riding based on your votes, and you know what, the losing candidates do not get participation medals.
Other folks say that they do plan to vote by spoiling their ballots to send a message to the leaders that these ballot-spoilers are unhappy with all of the leaders. They believe they are making an important statement. They are not! The election offers you choices – make one!
Deportment during elections has become a real issue. Some folks will say, “Whoohoo, let the name-calling and the mud-slinging begin!” It is very sad that it has come to this. I know many voters are disgusted by this whole practice, and most politicians vying for office really do not want to get caught up in digging up dirt on opposition candidates and engaging in name-calling. It is a sad commentary on Canadians that the polls show that attack ads do work. Hate and vitriol are not just the purview of the U.S. of A., although our lapses into these modes of response or fervor tend not to be quite so extreme. I wish it wasn’t so, as I find it rather disquieting that intelligent Canadians would behave in this manner.
Based on recent polls, many Canadians have not yet decided who they are going to vote for in the coming election. Televised debates often offer an excellent opportunity for decided and undecided voters alike to get to know the leaders of our national parties better. Such debates can often be instrumental in assisting the undecided in making a choice for whom they will cast their votes.
Last week, MacLean’s hosted a televised debate, and Scheer, May and Singh were there. Notably absent, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had declined to attend this event. When asked about his decision, he said that he was looking forward to attending the three nationally televised debates, two of which are in French, in which he already agreed to participate. You are a voter; read into this decision by Trudeau not to participate as you will. I, for one, was not impressed!
Again, my hope is that all Canadians of voting age turn out on Election Day to vote. Mark your X firmly in the circle next to the local candidate of your choice. Your vote makes a difference. You make a difference.
Rob MacLellan is an advocate for education and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at 902-305-0311 or at email@example.com.