Before I made my way into the legal profession, I was a political sciences major at Ottawa U. I have a lot to say about politics, but to be honest, have become quite disenchanted with our system. Between the constant negative assaults caused either by a complete lack of focus on the issues or anything resembling a coherent vision or the repetitive elections creating governments that are just waiting for the next election because they know they're not strong enough to do anything with the numbers they have now (you, and we, know who you are!), I'm just exhausted by it all. Nevertheless, Canadians have an election impending on May 2, 2011, so I thought it might be worthwhile not to champion any one party (surprised you, didn't I?), but to implore you to go out and vote.
Many people have their reasons for not going out to vote. Inevitably there are the usual excuses: too busy, don't like any of the parties, plan to vote for a party that looks like it is going to win, etc., etc. Really, no matter who you want to vote for and who you are, you can come up with a somewhat plausible reason not to vote. Well, imagine how the results turn out when about 60% of people all come up with excuses. We end up with governments leading a mass of disenchanted individuals that didn't vote for any party, yet feel justified in complaining about all of them.
Regardless of who you plan to vote for, you must vote. And really, I don't care who you vote for. I don't even care if you go out and spoil your ballot. Rumour has it they count the spoiled ballots so at least your disdain for all of the parties is registered somewhere. Just vote so that we can have a government in Canada that was actually elected. And yes, I know that the parliamentary system skews the outcome somewhat, but it's better than what we've had lately.
For those of you that plan to vote Liberal or Conservative, I'm hoping that these parties' historical success may be indicative of less voter apathy than supporters of other parties are experiencing. For those of you that support the NDP, Bloc or Green party, I have heard people theorize that voting for a party that cannot win an election is tantamount to spoiling one's ballot. I don't agree, and for two reasons. First, I think that if all of the people that don't feel like their vote is important would just vote, we would have a very different political landscape in Canada, and may even have more representatives from parties other than the Conservatives and the Liberals in the House. Also, even if no other representatives get elected, more votes (and yes, they of course do keep track of this) for parties other than the main two would signify disagreement with their policies, or agreement with those of the other three. Either way, it is important that whatever party and politicians are elected on May 2 are actually aware of what the desires of population are. If you decide not to vote, you cannot complain when you feel like your voice isn't heard.