It’s election time in Canada, an exciting time because it only happens once every sixteen weeks or so. The Governor General dissolved parliament upon the House finding that the Conservative government was in contempt of parliament, a historical judgment. I could write volumes on that alone but I’ll suppress my excitement and limit myself to the issue I find most pressing- the vote itself.
Needless to say when you have your fourth election inside of seven years, regardless of the seriousness of the charges behind the election call, there’s a bit of apathy among voters. Okay, a lot of apathy. In fairness, it’s not just due to the fact that we vote more often than we change our tires. There are no real options.
Vote blue, red, orange, green- in the end they all come out the same. It’s a little like buying no name ice cream and discovering that the “pink” tastes the same as the “white”, maybe a little more sugary. But certainly not a distinctive “pink” flavour, and surely not much different or better than the “white” version. This has been going on for some time.
Granted, I would personally like to see just about anyone other than the Conservatives run this country (except maybe the Liberals) but run it where? Into the ground? Who knows. I can’t even tell the difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives anymore. The NDP don’t strike me as being head and shoulders above the crowd insofar as actual policy or platform, but I do appreciate that they occasionally make noise in the House, other than the silly name calling others have resorted to and relied on for too many years now. And Green, well, I find it hard to take May seriously since she screwed up so many questions about Canada on a public broadcast a couple of years back. Hard to picture her running the country. But I digress… There are no really good options- period.
The problem, as I see it (and that’s the only opinion you’re likely to get here), is the system itself. It’s flawed. And failing. It’s been failing for a very long time. This party, that party… doesn’t matter. There’s no real accountability. The government will do whatever the f*ck the government wants to do- regardless of public opinion, without consulting us, and on our dime. Period. Cuz that’s how we roll in Canada. Holla!
You’d have to completely dismantle the system in order to see any real change. And I hope to see that- one day. The point is, it’s not happening now. But that’s no reason to withhold your vote. I’ve heard it suggested that some people will not prop up a system that they do not support by voting. That logic falls flat. Voter turnout at our last election was approximated at 58% (of registered voters). Pretty low, huh? Didn’t change a thing.
Doing nothing does nothing. There is no movement in apathy. Nor is there in anger, unless that anger is directed in some productive manner and starts a movement. But it’s silly to think that sitting on your hands constitutes a ‘movement’. Harper’s government (as he’s renamed it) is already preparing for low voter turnout suggesting that it will occur because people are happy with the current government. That’s funny because the last historically low voter turnout resulted in a minority government for the Conservatives, so it doesn’t seem anyone is ‘happy’ with much at all. But there you go- if you don’t vote, you will still be counted as ‘supporting’ the current structure.
I would love to be able to throw my support behind some independent candidate with a solid platform. I would love to hear anyone talking about how these past years have seen our freedoms and culture eroded, our money misspent, and our people misled- preferably with some suggestion as to how we might turn this bus around. I would love to see the entire “party system” dismantled and with it the opportunity for people to mindlessly vote as a block. I would love to see democracy work in anything other than theory. Alas…
I live in Alberta, which all but guarantees Conservative support, so I’m used to dropping my ballot into the box with a sigh. But I’ll be damned if I won’t drop yet another. Until there is any ‘real’ alternative I’ll continue to exercise the only freedom I have. And I highly recommend that you do too. Be a rebel- vote. The majority won’t.
an older clip, but still funny, explaining Canadian politics after we prorogued Parliament a few years back
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