U.S. Election Few Weeks Away
Canada, a country that is perceived as having harsh winters is busy basking in the July sun. Therefore, it won’t be wrong to assume that the 2015 federal election on the 19th of October is very far from most people’s minds.
Ideally, those eligible to vote should be using summer activities such as picnics, cultural celebrations, sports and holidays to decide which party to vote for. The long winters do not give Canadians the chance to be together that often.
The summer does, and that is when they can discuss the menus political parties have put on the table. The Conservative Party is in Ottawa, Canada’s national capital right now with Stephen Harper as the Prime Minister.
The October federal election will decide whether he retains his kingship, or ruling the country goes to the Green Party, Rhinoceros Party, Bloc Québécois, New Democratic Party, Liberal Party or any other registered political party.
Voting should not be at the spur of the moment, because it is like marriage. It results in dramatic changes and involves a lot of compromise.
We cannot vote for a certain party today, then moan and groan when they implement their policies for example: Canadians must be 21 years old to drive a car.
It is an extreme example yes, especially because Canadian provinces decide the driving age, but we seem to forget that making that cross on the ballot paper affects how we live, the taxes we pay, the food we eat and how we bring up children.
Unfortunately we are so busy cutting and pasting jobs just to make ends meet, we take short cuts, when it is time to vote. I voted for this party because:
My parents always vote for it.
The party leader is quite young.
The leader is very handsome.
It is the party I know because of our Member of Parliament (MP).
Men and women who want to be mayors, members of legislative assemblies (MLA), members of parliament, prime ministers or presidents of countries make promises to you the voter. I will do this. I won’t do that.
Therefore, it is important to understand those promises or issues. That will determine how you vote. You know what is important to you, as a person living in Canada.
A visitor from outer space will see a lot of groups under trees, on the beach, lakes, parks, outside coffee shops etc. enjoying summer in Canada.
This is an opportunity for voters to discuss their vote, decide what is important to them. I am not in any way suggesting block votes. Those already exist for example, groups that lobby for the rights of workers, pregnant women, the environment, immigration, seniors etc.
I’m advocating for community-based voter education where, people who are bound by language or economic ties make sure that they understand what they will be voting for on the 19th of October 2015.
Political parties can no longer assume that younger generations will vote for them as their parents did. No family block vote anymore, because the internet has burst the bubble of information.
It is no longer a given that children born in Canada, will necessarily vote for the same party their parents voted for when they arrived from Poland, U.K. Japan, Africa, Asia, or South America. Voting is an individual decision.
Voter Education Coordinators
Hopefully, your uncles, aunts and cousins, people you drink coffee with down the road, your yoga class or baseball friends are all going to vote.
To make voter education effective, take turns being voter education coordinators. Encourage teenagers to be coordinators in extended families, to teach them the value of voting at an early age.
Voter Education Coordinators? It means that you will take turns in finding answers for the following questions such as:
Who are the leaders of the various political parties?
What do they stand for? In other words, what are their political platforms or manifestos?
More importantly, where do they stand with what affects you directly for example, oil companies and the Arctic or religious symbols in clothes?
What is a riding or a voters' list?
Identification cards needed on voting day.
This is like a study group. Remember in high school or college, when you couldn’t understand a word the lecturer was saying? Remember how study groups made it much clearer?
You need such groups to understand some of these political platforms because, politicians never call a spade a spade, because they don’t want to antagonize the garden fork.
VOTER EDUCATION COORDINATOR
Conservative Party platform
New Democratic Party platform
Liberal Party Platform
Donations to political parties
Voting terms like ridings
Are you registered to vote?
All this will enable you to understand the six p.m. news even better, read blogs with understanding and make the correct choice on 19 October, 2015.