Author: Elisabeth Sahlmueller – Contributor
With various political candidate signs set up in people’s yards, it is clear that there will soon be another federal election. Over the past few decades, voter turn-out has decreased immensely. I understand that many people have their doubts when it comes to the whole voting process. They believe that it doesn’t matter who they vote for, since their party never wins or because politicians are phoney and lie to get elected, but never actually keep their promises. While that paints a grim picture of Canada’s political system, it can sometimes be hard to argue with that logic. Although people have various resignations, voting should be important to all Canadians because it provides us the opportunity to have some input in politics and it upholds democracy within our government.
To be honest, I’m not a very political person. Most of what I’ve learned about politics has come from watching the Rick Mercer Report. However, I’m excited for the election since this will be the first one I will be voting in. This is not only because there is a Green Party representative in my district, but because for the first time, I can get involved and vote for the person whom I think is capable of doing a good job for our country.
The majority of people are excited to vote in their first election. However, this enthusiasm will likely die down after a few elections as they grow more cynical and upset with the results. It can be easy to just take a backseat by choosing not to vote, but what would happen if everyone got fed up and decided not to? Democracy, the main core of our government, would break since it can longer work for the people or by the people.
I have often heard older people say that younger voters don’t have the knowledge to make the right choice when they cast their vote. This is not true at all; we likely don’t know all the information about each policy, but we are still affected by them and have our own opinions on how to improve or fix them. I know that it can be hard to find time to do anything, but I believe that finding time to vote is something we need to do. Students attending university are usually considered “the future,” but if we don’t take an interest in what will impact our future, then how true can that statement be?
There are a lot of flaws with Canada’s electoral system, I cannot deny that. However, it is not right for people to step back from voting. Decision-making should include everyone that it affects, not just an elite group. If you want that, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to go back in time somehow, because that era has passed. Our government forms the best policies when more people are involved, so when everyone votes it works to our advantage.
In many countries, people are not able to speak their opinion when politics are involved. There is one view and citizens of that country have no choice but to agree with it, or risk being arrested or killed. In Canada, thankfully, our government works the opposite way. Even though people may not agree with someone else’s opinion, we recognize that there are other opinions. We are not asked often enough to have an input towards many of the government’s decisions, so at least we can vote in every election for someone who has similar values on important issues.
This year, the federal election will take place on Oct. 19 and there are many ways for people to vote. U of R students living in residence are able to vote from Oct. 5-8 between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. in College West room 113 or in the Education Building in room 114. Please don’t be that person that complains or criticizes the ruling government, but puts no time or effort into voting. No one can force all Canadians to participate in elections, but this year, I hope that we can all put aside our excuses for the time being and get out to vote.