The Canadian Imagination

What it means to be Canadian; examining and reworking Canada as a nation.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Vote

Election day is here. Go out, cast your vote as you see fit ... and if you really can't find it in you to vote for any of the parties or even any of the individual candidates, at least go out and decline or spoil your ballot.

Last several elections, declined and spoiled ballots outnumbered one or more of the parties at any given pollbox.

We are told repeatedly by the media that a large percentage of us feel disenfranchised or otherwise don't believe enough in the system to vote. But I think this is not just apathy, here. I personally want nothing more than to make a constructive difference -- but the political process itself works against this. How can it do otherwise, when its primary function is to perpetuate itself in its current structure ... the structure which brought the reigning party into power?

But your vote still has power.

If you can't vote in conscience for any of the parties, decline your ballot or spoil it. Write in a candidate if you so want: it will entertain the poll clerks. (Most of them keep an unofficial count.) Please don't set fire to it though: we like our schools and public places the way they are ... and besides, that kind of action tends to bring the police. (And your name is on the voters' registry list: they know where you live.)

Go out, take the time. Show the pundits that it is not apathy, but a firm belief that the results are meaningless because the current system is broken. Show them that you do believe in your country and the potential of electoral democracy -- just not in its current form and with its current leadership. Cast your ballot for what you believe in.

And hey, if you decide you want things to stay just the way they are: I am good with that too. I live in a democracy: and that means I have to assume the results immediately after an election reflect what the people want.

Don't they?

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