BY ADAM SCHWARTZ
So, you want to change Canada? Well, here is what you have to do on Oct. 19, vote.
I don’t care who you vote for, but you have to vote. Many of the most apathetic voters are young people who think their vote means nothing. We all know that’s just a bunch of malarkey. If you want to see real change, if you want Tom Mulcair, Justin Trudeau, Steven Harper or Elizabeth May to pay attention, you have to give them a reason.
According to Youthvote.ca, 71 per cent of Canadians are dissatisfied with politics, yet only 60 per cent of Canadians voted and only 38 per cent of young Canadians voted in the 2011 federal election. We blame the politicians for not distinguishing themselves, but we don’t give them any reason to, because we don’t vote. If we want the party representatives to listen we have to give them a reason to. The only way to do that is through action, not inaction.
It’s not as though the options are not there. Although the parties’ platforms don’t distinguish themselves particularly well, there is a difference between them. Mulcair and Trudeau both want to change the way the election system works in Canada, citing flaws in our First Pass the Post system.
Mulcair even expresses interest in abolishing the Senate and in regulating, taxing and legalizing marijuana, while Trudeau wants to decriminalize it. May strongly supports moving away from fossil fuels and developing new ways of generating renewable energy and wants to make sure that our Canadian environment remains protected and pristine. Harper emphasizes economic security and tax relief for small businesses.
It’s because so few young people vote that politicians don’t target their campaigns toward them. If you want to win you have to target the older demographic. They do vote, they will vote. That’s the reason why Harper also promises a $2,000 tax credit to single seniors if re-elected. It’s a pretty sweet deal for an aging population. We could have cheaper education, maybe a free post-secondary system. Unfortunately, that was something we didn’t bother to take advantage of. But that was before and we can now.
There are resources available to help educate voters about the nuances between the political parties, like Votecompass.cbc.ca. These can point you toward the parties which most closely align with your political leanings.
Will the change be immediate? No, it won’t. Rarely does change ever have an immediate, gratifying payoff. Change might not come this election, but with the casting of each ballot, politicians will have little choice but to take notice.