It’s difficult to not become jaded about elections.
We do, after all, have a government that the majority of Canadians didn’t vote for. Not that it’s the government’s fault that most people dislike them, per se. Getting 39.62 per cent of the popular vote was a legitimate path to a Conservative majority. Plus, not everybody is likable.
We might be able to get a little more cohesion on this front, however, if more people showed up at the polls.
Around 15 million people voted last election, but almost 10 million who were eligible to vote chose not to.
The reason? “It doesn’t matter,” is the most readily accessible refrain. Thing is, while I may not know all Canadians, it’s abundantly clear to me that my friends care deeply about the government. They talk about the environment, the economy, crime and all sorts of things that, you know, the federal government has a real hand in.
When it comes to voting, however, many of these wonderful, thoughtful people are following the national trend and not partaking. Same way it’s easier to care about a lion a world away than it is to do something about stopping big game hunting in your own back yard, griping about the thugs on every street corner is easier than coming to terms with how political decisions affect crime rates.
Plus, it’s so hard to get good information.
Those heinous ads that make everything look like a high school pissing match don’t help matters.
As associate professor of political science at the University of the Fraser Valley pointed out earlier this week, the best thing to do is completely avoid them. If you hear a “he’s not ready yet,” or “I am so” coming out of your television or radio, turn it off. Not because he’s ready or not, but because the very nature of these ads undermine the process of becoming informed.
They’re all about getting you to turn off your brain and blindly check a box. What’s worse, is this year they have way more cash to do that with.
The long lead-up to the Oct. 19 vote means parties can spend roughly $50 million each on their campaigns. What I’m curious about is whether the expected onslaught of ads will encourage voter turnout?
What I do know, is that Elections Canada won’t be able to help in that regard. Harper’s Fair Elections Act of last year has clauses that mean Elections Canada can no longer run ads encouraging Canadians to vote.
The agency can discuss the need to vote but only in programs or events directed at non-voters. Pets, children and barnyard animals are OK. It’s a funny bit of business that doesn’t reflect well on our dear leader, but little does these days.
So, with that I will leave you with this list of local candidates.
Do your research, don’t listen to the propaganda and make them answer your questions.
Then, of course, vote.
Kathy Michaels writes for Kelowna Capital News/Black Press