Everywhere I look these days I see signs. Vote NDP. Vote Liberal. Vote Conservative. Vote Green. It's all over the news and internet. I'm surrounded by it. It is obvious that we are approaching an election day in Canada.
It kind of stresses me out. I'm not naturally a politically minded person. I find all the debating and differing viewpoints to be a bit exhausting. But, Lord willing, I will be out on election day, casting my ballot.
I am a big believer in the idea that everyone who is eligible to vote should get out and vote and here are some reasons why.
1. Representation - On election day I am going to cast my ballot for the candidate that most closely represents my views, beliefs, values, standards and priorities. This is my chance to find someone whose views are as close to mine as possible because that person, if they win, will be representing me. When a vote comes up, they'll be making a vote that should be the vote I would make and that the majority of the people in their riding would make. Their vote represents all of ours.
2. We have the right and privilege - In Canada, all citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote. What an amazing privilege! We have a voice. That wasn't always true for all of us. Women did not always have the right, but we do now and we shouldn't take it for granted. There are many people in many countries in the world without the freedoms we have. They have no choice and no say as to who will lead their country. They have no voice and would give anything to have a vote. Let's not take our freedoms for granted.
3. People fought for us to have the right - Through the years our military has fought to keep our country free, and to protect our rights, including our right to vote. We need to show our gratitude and respect for their service by making the most of the opportunities received by their sacrifices. Don't throw away or diminish what others have given so much for.
4. I want my voice to be heard - We all have opinions, agendas, and priorities we think the government should be addressing. Whether we are concerned more about the economy, the environment, taxes or health care, we want to have a say in what is going on. That's what our votes do. Even if your candidate doesn't win, your vote sends a message.
5. Every vote counts - In our last election in 2011, there was just over 60% voter turnout. Only three-fifths of the population took the time to do the research and take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to cast their ballots. To be part of history. Some of the areas had very close races, with one party narrowly edging the other out. Who knows, in this election your vote may be the one that tips a decision one way or the other.
The election day is less than two weeks away. I hope you'll take the time to study up on what the candidates stand for. Who they are and what they hope to achieve. And then I hope that on Monday, October 19, 2015 you'll get out and let your voice be heard.