As Canada went to the poles yesterday and I watched the election results roll in, I couldn’t help but hope we’d see a real show of renewed participation this time. It’s no secret, interest in Canadian politics has been on the downturn for a while now. Bored by dry politicking, party in-fighting and leaders that fail to inspire us, deep disinterest has spawned a lack of any real perceived meaning, or relevance of politics to our daily lives. It’s just my opinion of course (and Ken may disagree), but here in Canada we’ve got it pretty darn good. Generally, we enjoy a high standard of living and quality of life. Easy to say for an Albertan maybe, but even through something like the global recession, Canada has remain relatively unscathed, at least so far. So to us, and when I say, ‘us’, I mean the young folk (I’m tossing myself in there because I still can, sorta) we don’t really see a direct connection between who is in power, or the policies that govern us and our own lives. To us, it hasn’t really mattered if you vote Green, Orange, Red or Blue, either the Liberals or Conservatives will hold power, and from what we can tell, life remains pretty much the same either way. Feel free to correct me if you think I’m wrong.
Well, I think we’re starting to realise that yeah, somethings may always stay the same, but there are other things that really do matter to us, and we have an opinion on them. I mean after all, we are going to inherit this country, so whatever the shape it’s in, it’s going to be ours to deal with – no one else’s. In the recent past, core issues like the economy, taxes, social services, energy and foreign policy might have tweaked the interest of a few of us, but now with the recent global recession, global warming, and ongoing involvement in conflict zones like the Middle East and Libya, things are getting right up in our face and the policies we adopt now are going shape how we handle these ongoing and immediately relevant issues.
Then again, I may be totally wrong… Early reports are that only 56% of us went to the poles. So, I guess my perception of a renewed interest in politics is bunk, swayed by what felt like a lot more chatter on the internets, via Facebook and Twitter. Regardless, even though 44% of Canadians just sat on their asses last night, there was HUGE change yesterday – the Canadian political landscape doesn’t look the same today and whether you’re happy about the outcome or not, I hope you voted. I hope you voted on the issues that are important to you. Maybe your thing is healthcare now that you’re watching you parents age, and having kids of your own. Maybe it’s that you want to bring all our troops home, or that you want our troops to receive more funding and to be better cared for when the come home. Maybe your thing is to axe the long gun registry, or sustainable energy, and the progress of more efficient public transit, and bike lanes ;-) Whatever it is that matters to you, it likely matters to all of us. Speak up. Take part. Vote. Can’t gripe if you don’t. Next Canadian election, 2015 :)