I understand why many people don’t care about Canadian politics. And I understand why some people choose to do just about anything other than vote. I even understand why some people are so disconnected from Canadian politics that they simply forget to vote.
The way politicians strategically build their “party lines” seems disingenuous. In fact, it is largely disingenuous, full of empty promises and irritating taglines. Unfortunately, democracy involves competition, and politicians are always going to play the game to win votes. But that’s our chosen system of government and we are in Afghanistan right now trying to install that system in another country with a distinct culture.
Canadians and Afghans are literally dying for democracy, so we’d better believe in it, right?
We have a responsibility to participate in democracy and to vote (or else actively work to find another system of government). I could be wrong, but I think Canadians still value democracy.
That said, the double-speak coming out of the Conservative government is disturbing. Their party line to begin their campaign seems to be: “Vote for us so you won’t have to vote again” (i.e. if you give us a majority, you won’t have to do it again anytime soon).
In Newfoundland last week, Harper once again said, “Nobody wants an election.” Is it any wonder that his party has been found in contempt of parliament? Elections are the foundation of democracy. If elections are a waste of money then, I ask again, why are we in Afghanistan? If elections are garbage, then bring our friends and family home.
Sure, it’s irritating to hear politicians manipulating party lines and making hollow promises, but that doesn’t alleviate our responsibility to vote. We have a duty to be critical and read between the lines, and with the rise of social media and the Internet, we are in a better position than ever to compare news coverage and see through political spin.
I believe that this election will see more young people vote than ever before. Harper’s disregard for the media, parliament, Elections Canada, and now elections themselves will propel young people to the polls.
By making the Canadian public choose between “wasteful elections” and a Harper majority government, the Conservatives have unintentionally asked: democracy or the Conservative government? Stephen Harper may have been far more honest than he ever intended.