Eden’s Declassified Election Survival Guide
Canada is less than a month away from its next federal election, which will be taking place on Oct. 21, 2019. What are you doing to get informed and be prepared to hit the polls?
Voting in the western world is the true embodiment of our democratic political system. Various minority groups and women fought hard for the right to vote for decades so voting could ensure quintessential representation. Exercising your right to vote ensures the integrity of our democracy, validates our predecessors’ fights for our rights, and puts a government which proportionally represents the population and diversity of our country in power. These are a few of the manifold reasons why it’s important to cast your vote — but how should one go about doing it?
First, make sure you are registered to vote. You need to register to vote if you have recently turned 18 and are now of legal voting age, if you’ve changed your legal name, or if you’ve recently moved. You can register to vote and check to make sure you are registered online at elections.ca.
Second, educate yourself on the platforms of the various parties and make a carefully thought-out decision to vote for one of them. There are a few important things to keep in mind when beginning this process. For one, there are actually 21 federal political parties currently registered in Canada, so it is important to challenge yourself to look beyond Liberal and Conservative. Furthermore, remember that bias and prejudice can sharply influence anything you may read about the political parties. It is easy to get swept away in the eloquent and persuasive declarations of a Twitter social justice warrior, in the seeming officiality of a widely accepted news company, or in the tickling promises of decreased taxes and cheaper living of a politician — but it is important to read political content from all sides and think critically for yourself. Moreover, be conscious of your privilege before looking into political platforms. The colour of your skin; the gender you identify and present as; the area you live in; the financial stability of your family; your ability to access food, water and education — this is a non-exhaustive list of factors which are integral to your vote. It is your moral and social responsibility to keep in mind the needs of those who do not have the privilege you do in this society when voting.
To get information on the parties and where they stand on various political matters, you can go online and find a wide variety of resources to aid your decision, such as the CBC’s “Vote Compass” and Canada I Side With’s quiz. Also, news agencies feature updates on declarations from the leaders, as well as comprehensive analyses and comparisons of the parties organized by political issue, like the CBC’s “Compare the Party Platforms.” The classic way to stay up to date on the polls and parties is through the news — listening to the radio, watching the news and/or reading the newspapers. A more contemporary way to do so is through social media — following the various leaders on their social media platforms, listening to or reading what others have to say about the leaders and parties, and watching how the leaders react to events happening in real time, such as the recent climate strike.
The third and final step to voting is getting to the polls. On Oct. 21, gather your friends, family, co-workers and classmates and go fill out your ballot. Encourage others to educate themselves on who to vote for and educate others on where to find the information they need. In order to instill the change we wish to see in society, we need to elect the leader and party that best represents us and our goals as a country — together.
Photo Credit: https://votecompass.cbc.ca/canada/