Column: Don’t waste the chance to have your voice heard

In so many other countries, people continue to die to have a society as free, as safe, and as fair as the one we take for granted.

It’s Day 6 of the federal election campaign. With Election Day scheduled for October 19 there’s a marathon ahead in which to listen to all those banal attack ads, the he-said-she-said accusations, and promises piled on promises to garner voter hopefuls.

And speaking of voters, just where are all the voters on Election Day? Not in the booth, that’s for sure. According to Elections Canada, the official turnout for the last federal election on May 2, 2011 was 61.1 per cent, 2.3 per cent higher than the all-time low of 58.8 per cent in 2008. That 60 something per cent has been pretty typical for federal elections since 2000 but prior to 1993 turnouts averaged between 70 per cent and 80 per cent.

So who really turns up at the booth?

Generally, the older we get the more likely we’re going to show up. Politics is either a) making more sense or b) making us mad enough for action.

According to the stats, turnout steadily increases with age from 38.8 per cent of those voting in the age group 18-24 to 75.1 per cent for those 64-74. Then it declines to 60.3 per cent for those 75 and older.

For the youngest group, an interesting stat was that those eligible to vote for the first time (turning 18 years of age by polling day) showed up in slightly higher rates (40.5 per cent) than youth who voted in 2008 (37.8 per cent).

Staying with stats, apparently more women (59.6 per cent) voted in the last election than men (57.3 per cent) up to age 64 after which more men hauled out the door for the polling booth.

So why is it people don’t vote?  All politicians are crooks. All parties are the same. They never follow through on promises. Why should I? I’m too busy, I forgot, I…..

Nonsense to all that.

We live in the most peaceful democratic country in the world for which 1.1 million Canadians fought in World War II. In so many other countries, people continue to die to have a society as free, as safe, and as fair as the one we take for granted.

Despite a few less than stellar individuals, politicians are not all crooks. Overall, Canadians are well served by those in office and by the political process and, for the most part, politicians are pretty accessible. For all its warts, the political class does work.

All parties are not the same. Steven Harper’s conservatives have played a vastly different game than the previous Liberal Party and the yet to be nationally tested NDP.

Do they follow through on promises? OK, not always. Or maybe partly. In 2012, the Harper government proudly pointed to the abolition of the long-gun registry, the passage of the omnibus crime bill, and dismantling the Canadian Wheat Board. But pledges were broken on Medicare and pensions, and issues were exacerbated by Harper’s obsession with secrecy and, for me, his lack of commitment to the environment, mitigating climate change, and his disregard for science research.

But therein lies the very reason to vote. Whether it’s for change, for improvement, or to endorse what has gone before, a vote is your voice for a shift to something else or the status quo. True, beating up on politicians is a national pastime but being too busy is not an excuse when deciding who will run our country. So if you don’t vote, don’t complain.

For those who didn’t vote in 2011, there’s time – 73 days of it – to change your mind and weigh up those campaign debates, accusations, and promises designed to lure you into that booth.

Just make sure you get there.

Just Posted

A student prepares to throw a plate full of whipped cream at principal Jim Egdcombe’s face as vice principal Devin Atkins watches as part of a fundraiser at Leary Integrated Arts and Technology elementary on Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
The pied principals: Chilliwack elementary staff get messy for charity

Cops for Cancer fundraiser saw kids ‘pie the principal’ at Leary elementary in Chilliwack

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Chilliwack drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

Jordyn Huitema plays for the Canadian national women’s soccer team. (Soccer Canada photos)
Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canada battle Czechs to 0-0 draw

Huitema’s national women’s soccer squad played a friendly match against the Czechs in Spain

Hutch Hotels Ltd., which owned the former Alder Inn (which was demolished in November 2020), is among the defendants in a lawsuit related to an alleged impaired-driving crash in January 2017. The civil suit also names S & L Kitchen and Bar in Abbotsford. (Black Press file photo)
Two Fraser Valley bars named in lawsuit related to alleged impaired-driving crash

S & L Abbotsford and Alder Inn being sued by passenger in 2017 rollover collision

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

Most Read