BY CARMEN PONCIANO
Thousands gathered for the funeral of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo in Hamilton on Oct. 28, many struggling to come to terms with his senseless death. Cirillo was the soldier who was shot during the attack on Parliament Hill, dying at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Oct. 22.
Many felt it was their duty to be present at the funeral in order to express their sympathy and show their respect. Cirillo died carrying out his duty, serving as a ceremonial guard over the memorial which stands as a symbol of those who have fallen defending democracy. However, within this very democracy citizens have not performed their own civic duty – to vote. Canadian politics are not nearly as exciting as the politics in the U.S., and so, it’s no surprise that, as a result, voter turnout is low. But that doesn’t make it any less important.
Canada has always struggled with motivating its citizens to vote. During the last federal election in 2011, only 61.4 per cent of the population went to a polling station, the third lowest in Canadian history. In Waterloo Region in this past municipal election, only 30 to 36 per cent (Waterloo being the highest and Cambridge being the lowest) participated.
One of the concerns of low voter turnout is the possibility that the election is not an accurate representation of the people. Non-voters include various segments of the population, but are mainly the young and the poor. So what does this tell us? Could it be that people are not concerned with who will lead their city or country? Or do they simply take for granted something that our forefathers have fought to protect?
Many people forget that Canada provides us with many opportunities which we as citizens can take advantage of, particularly the choice of electing a leader. This is a luxury that many other countries don’t have.
As citizens we need to become more involved within our community when it comes to choosing a leader for our municipality, province and country. We should vote for them based on criteria we feel is right for us. We need to embrace the importance of voting and have a say in our community. Let us not become indifferent, and let the deaths of so many soldiers be in vain.
The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.