By Jenn Watt
Canada’s federal election is happening this Monday, Oct. 19 and it shouldn’t need to be said that everyone should get out and vote.
We’ve spent plenty of ink over the years encouraging voting and it’s hard to know if it works.
Year after year voter turnout comes in and it’s usually disappointing.
Last election 61 per cent of eligible voters showed up to the polls.
The old adage is that if you don’t vote you don’t get to complain, but it also means you cede the country to others. Other people’s ideals and passions are rewarded by their votes. Their notions of what Canada should look like take centre stage. They are in charge.
Choosing not to vote is often seen as complacency or as a protest against a system unresponsive to today’s population. Those concerns are valid, but the fact remains that the government wields huge power whether we like them or not.
The Canadian government chooses whether we use military force and where. It doles out dollars for health care and can put strings on that money or not. It controls pension funds. It makes environmental policy. It bargains with international powers on our behalf. It supports – or chooses not to support – international aid programs. The Canadian government matters.
Our lives will change based on who wins on Oct. 19. Guaranteed.
Last week, a video of comedian Rick Mercer made the rounds online where he suggested the low voter turnout might be partially due to inexperience. He thought some people might not know how to vote.
If that’s the case, let me assure any first-time voter: it is painless and easy. Show up with your voter card to the location on that card. Bring your driver’s licence. The friendly community members at the front table will do the rest.
Don’t have a voter card? Tuesday, Oct. 13 is the last day to register to vote.
Missed the deadline? You can still vote. Go to www.elections.ca, fill out a registration certificate online, print it and bring it to the polling station on election day for faster service.
But even if you don’t do that you can still vote at the polling station on the day of the election.
All of the questions you could imagine about voting are answered on elections.ca, but you can also call if you want to ask specific questions: 1-866-239-2830.