Endemic apathy

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The 2011 provincial election is just around the corner. We are only a few weeks away from changing the political landscape (or not) in the Prairies, and no one gives a shit. The problem of voter apathy plagues politics in almost every country around the globe.

So many Canadians cherish democracy, freedom, and human rights, but don’t even bother to spend the minuscule amount of time needed to cast a vote.  Governments have an incredible amount of power within our country, so why are the majority of citizens indifferent as to which party has the power?

When I pester my friends about voting, they usually respond with something along the lines of “it doesn’t affect me, get off my case.” Bullshit. The decisions a government makes directly impact the lives of everyone in Canada, some more than others, but everyone nonetheless. How many people out there are aware that the Saskatchewan Green Party is advocating free tuition? Almost no one. Ask any student, who is forking over thousands in tuition each year, if their life would be different if they didn’t have to break the bank every semester.

The real problem is that people don’t bother to discover how politics is affecting their lives. I've noticed that many people cannot think of an example off the top of their heads, so they assume that one doesn’t exist. This inevitably leads them to belch out the uninformed phrase “it doesn’t affect me,” and look like a jackass in the process.

This also creates a slippery slope. If people don’t care about who is in power, then the politicians who campaign to gain control of the province or country are far less likely to pay attention to the needs of apathetic citizens, furthering the sense that the government's decisions don't affect them.

The fact of the matter is the government influences tuition, housing, and health care costs, it controls Crown corporations and social programs that everyone uses. Each political party has differing views on how these assets should be controlled. Without actually taking some time to learn about how each party would use them, how can you be sure your life wouldn't be better if someone else were in control? In fact, most people only consider negatives when thinking about how a government can impact their lives and rarely consider how a change in government might make things better.

I hear students complain all the time about tuition and housing costs. If you don’t like it, then vote for a government that is going to do something about it, or shut up.

Unfortunately, voter apathy has left us with a federal government that sucks. The Conservatives were caught lying to Parliament, they negotiate trade deals with the European Union in secret, block media from asking questions, support the privatization of healthcare, cut off foreign aid to Africa, and the list goes on. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that only 25 per cent of our total population actually voted for the Conservatives.

It is frustrating to see our country’s government enact the will of such a small part of the population; things would be much different if people started giving a fuck.

Dietrich Neu
Features Editor

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