How to Vote

Want to Vote?


Go to your polling station, get a ballot and mark an X beside one of the names. Voting day is this Thursday. Given the fact that a little over half of the population voted in the last provincial election, many people may not be aware there even is an election or may not care. In my mind, that is irresponsible and how we have created a political system where personalities and special interests rule over more consensus based governance.

I hate mentioning generational differences, but older folks tend to vote more reliably than younger folks. Given that most of decisions made at Queens Park over the next four years will have significant future impacts, it would be nice to see more participation from those born after the post war baby boom. I am surprised the political parties don't do more to engage young voters. It is interesting to note that the youngest voter in our household didn't even receive a voter card in the mail, probably because she last voted where she had been going to school. There is certainly not a lot of effort on anyone's part to engage and motivate the youth vote.

Elections appear to becoming more about who we don't want elected versus actually choosing a party with a platform that represents our interests. It is difficult to find a party that you can agree with 100% - it's too bad we can't vote for policies instead of parties.

An American friend once told me that if you want to understand U.S. politics, follow the money - Americans tend to vote from the perspective of what is best for their pocketbook. I don't think we're that much different although we may have a slightly better understanding, and possibly a deeper level of compassion, when it comes to making the relationship between taxes and the value they provide society through healthcare, education, social services, transportation and the justice system.

As citizens, we have a responsibility to vote and to make an informed choices based on facts and analysis not just a desire for change. There are many places you can find detailed outlines of each party's platform including:

Ontario Election 2018 Platform Guide (Macleans)

Ontario Election Guide (Globe & Mail)

Politicians represent and reflect our society. If there are no choices that represent your interests, maybe we all need to take a more active interest in politics and get involved with a political party that best represents our interest or create a new party. There are currently 28 political parties registered with Elections Ontario. Surely we can all find one that reflects our interests.

So who should you vote for in this election? Maybe there is a single issue that concerns you - find where the parties and local candidates stand on that issue. Perhaps you make the decision on where the polls are headed - just make sure they're headed in a direction you can live with for the next four years. Then there is strategic voting where you don't vote for someone but for the person with the best chance of defeating someone you don't want elected. I'm not sure that is what true democracy is all about.

On analysis, there appears to be no really clear and easy way to decide how to vote. But as they say, all politics are local. I tend to assess the local candidates and pick the one that best represents the interests of our community but with an eye to the premier who will be represent our province nationally and internationally as well as party politics that I can at least tolerate. Sadly, there is no clear path for the engaged compassionate voter. Western democracy is messy and getting messier.

Hold your nose if you have to, but give it some thought and just vote.

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