Saturday, April 23, 2011

Karl's wish for the Canadian Federal election of 2011

Canada, I hope with all of my heart that you vote in this federal election. You may have reasons to be apathetic about the government. You may be disappointed with the political system. You may find it difficult to align with any particular party. You might think that the trading of power back and forth between the two traditional ruling parties over the years has not changed anything. You might want to vote for a particular party, but hesitate to do so because you feel that they could never get enough votes to form a government, or elect their representative in your riding.

But what I seriously hope is that you stop using the past as an excuse. Never mind what transpired before. Stop using a hated party policy from 30 years ago as a crutch to never vote for them again. Stop voting based on what you don't want. Stop voting for the lesser of two or three evils. Stop voting strategically. Voting strategically only accomplishes one thing. It lies to the rest of the electorate and the government. It fools them by artificially propping up a party that doesn't even have the full support of its voters, just so that 'the other party' doesn't get too many seats.

Instead, vote for the political party that most mirrors your values and beliefs. Give a party a chance even if you're confident they'll never get enough votes. That's really not the point. If it's the party that best reflects your vision of the country, then vote for them. If it's the party that is offering policy and change you believe in, then vote for them. If their candidate and their leader doesn't make you throw up a little in your mouth, then they deserve a chance. If their candidate just spouts party generated talking points and doesn't engage the electorate, why would you vote for them? If their candidate doesn't even show up at all-party debates, or hangs up on their constituents, why would you expect them to represent you well? Think about the person you want representing you in Ottawa. If you had to pay them for their work out of your pocket, would you still vote for the same person? You are paying for them with your taxes. Are they earning their salary or is it time for some fresh blood?

For those of you who plan not to vote, I want you to think about changing your mind. The reason you should consider voting is that nobody expects you to. There's a certain party which shall remain unnamed because it's so obvious who I'm talking about, who is betting the farm that you will not vote. If you're under 25 or if you're a woman, they would rather you didn't bother to show up at the polls. So I would like you to foil their plan. Do it for me. Do it...... for the kids and the grand-kids. Do it for the millions of people in the world who don't get a chance to vote at all. Let's show them that we appreciate the democracy that we have and that dammit - we're willing to use it.

The best recent example of how important it is to get the vote out, is the recent Calgary municipal election. Everyone I spoke to that wanted to vote for Naheed Nenshi said "I'd like to vote for him, but he'll never win." But they did vote for him. He won.

Now get out there Canada..... and vote.

Special message to the youth of this country: If you're not planning to vote as a form of protest against ineffectiveness of previous governments, you're not doing anyone any favours. You don't change things through inaction, you change them by making your voice heard. Make your vote count instead of being part of the problem. There - I said it.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~Margaret Mead (attributed)


Anonymous said...

And...I read in our local paper, you wouldn't let your grandparents choose your dates, why would you let them choose who will lead the country? H.

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog by accident, checking the candidates in our riding and stumbled upon Anna Lisa Wagner's interview.

I don't disagree with a notion that is it a very good idea to vote per se.

However, given out perverse (yes I chose this expression intentionally) per vote subsidy, I would much rather just spoil the ballot. Given the section 167(2)(a) of the Canada Elections Act, "no person shall willfully alter, deface or destroy a ballot."
I do not at this point think it is such a good idea.

So I will likely vote Green - and for the record I cannot stand Elisabeth May - because I think Anna Lisa is the least evil candidate in my riding.

I only wish we had some independent candidates on the ballot like last time.

And here is my problem with blind urge to 'get out the vote': given the fact that spoiling the ballot is technically illegal, voting per se legitimizes the (IMO) immoral power structure we have in place. Worse - it increases party income.

Having said that, yes I will vote (I always have) and I will hope that no matter what Anna Lisa will NOT win Calgary West as I could not stand Green Party in the Parliament as they never had have any constructive platform for our country.


Karl Plesz said...

You're doing it wrong.

Anonymous said...

I am so torn. My heart says to vote Green however I want the Tories out of power so I'm considering NDP.

Guess I will decide when it's time to cast my ballot.