Today is October 19th and Election Day in Canada! This is the first federal election I am eligible to vote in and I am so excited. I have just come home from my polling station and I am so proud to have cast a ballot.
I am not a politically minded person. During conversations about politics I usually just listen to other people’s ideas without putting forth any of my own. But this election is something big for the country and so I wanted to be informed. I found photos and articles detailing the platforms of each party, I took an online quiz (a reliable one) to help me figure out which party best fit with my views and I tried to engage in as many political conversations as I could. It’s my first election, and I wanted my vote to accurately represent what I wanted for this country. I was so excited when I found that many people my age were also doing the same thing.
My generation generally gets a bad rap, but my Facebook and Twitter feeds were full of young people encouraging their friends and family to educate themselves and go out to vote. I didn’t see a single post of encouragement from any other generation. I saw a lot of hate for different parties and a lot of people trying to bully others into voting for the party they wanted. It was my generation who were being supportive, trying to inform people and encouraging each other to vote. We are having conversations and debates online, sharing information and being respectful while doing it. I am proud of my generation.
I was shocked, and honestly a little appalled at the amount of people in my parent’s age bracket who were poorly informed or who did not care at all. I was surprised by all the cynicism people displayed, and the attitude of ‘all politicians are awful, no matter who I vote for will ruin the country’. While I am not naive enough to believe that all the politicians will keep every single promise they made through the (very long) campaigning period, I believe that this mentality is what will hurt the country. I was told by quite a few adults today that they were not voting or were going to spoil their ballot. One person told me that he was going to vote for whichever candidate supported his favourite hockey team. Is that any way to decide who will govern our country? Some people I spoke to had never heard of strategic voting before, and I had to explain to them what it was, and why it could potentially be the deciding factor in the vote.
I am not expecting everyone to be a political genius. Lord knows I am not. But it is so easy to get information on each platform within seconds of an online search.
I am urging people to vote. Polls are open until 9:30 pm in Canada. While I do have my own political beliefs, and I am rooting for a certain party, as long as you are making an informed vote I respect you. Remember that you are allowed to disagree with the opinion, but you are not allowed to belittle a person based on their political beliefs. Every vote does matter, and if you do not vote, or you spoil your vote, I refuse to listen to you complain about politics until the next election. We have been complaining for years about the government, and this is our time to make a change (or not, depending on where you stand).
If I can make an educated vote, so can you.