May Second Election

May Second Election

If you're Canadian and haven't voted early I hope you and I will be doing the same thing on May second, which is voting in the federal election. In the last few Canadian federal elections the media and fellow citizens have been especially worried about younger voters staying away from the polls but apathy and cynicism aren't qualities that any specific demographic have the market cornered on.

Sometimes (often?) in the west we seem to smugly think of our countries as shining examples of democracy. In our case I find this strange indeed — if only 58.8% of registered voters actually voted in the last Canadian election how invested in democracy can we be as a nation? Then there's the fact that many Canadians don't have even the most basic understanding of how our voting system here works. According to a 2008 Ipsos-Reid poll 51% of respondents erroneously believe the Prime Minister is elected by direct ballot when in actuality Canadians don’t vote directly for the PM, but for a member of Parliament in 308 ridings across the country. As leading constitutional expert Peter Russell explains it, “The basics of our system are simple. We elect the Parliament and the Parliament decides who gets the right to govern.”

So it's time for us to do our research and deserve the democracy we've inherited in this country. Then, to quote Margaret Atwood, “Vote, and — as they say — cherish the moment. People elsewhere are dying for it.”

Trailer Park Boys Say Vote:

Rick Mercer Calls Offside on Stephen Harper:

Rick Mercer's Message To Student and Youth Voters:

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