Why this election is about withholding information

Surprise, surprise – the election brought me back from the dead.

For me, this election brings back memories of the 2007 provincial election, during which I worked for Elections Ontario. It was also the election that saw Ontario’s sad attempt at election reform and the government’s successful efforts to quash it.

I watched the Mixed Member Proportional system fail miserably as one confused and agitated voter after another passed up on a significant improvement on our existing First Past the Post idiocy. Why? The province, under McGuinty, did not invest in informing the public of what it was, so of course, concerned about a complicated sounding change that couldn’t be explained by the so-called experts who would be running it, the people of the province voted fairly overwhelmingly for the devil they knew.

Much of elections is about message control, but there is a LOT of messaging out there. If you’re not a news junkie, it might feel a bit overwhelming. So, here are a few bullet points to keep in mind coming up on the Big E Day:

Why Vote?

  • You might think your vote doesn’t matter, that politicians don’t care about you or your problems. Odds are, you’re right, but they sure want to keep their jobs, and to do that, they have to keep the VOTING public happy. Your voice, and by extension, your vote ABSOLUTELY matters. Show them they have to EARN your support, and if they don’t offer it, find a candidate who will.
  • You might think that elections are rigged before they even start. You know, you might be right. I’m not one for conspiracies, but anything is possible. Here’s a thought though – if they are rigged and you voted, you’ve lost nothing. If they are NOT rigged, and you didn’t vote, you lost your chance to be heard by people who will dictate the quality of your life in almost every way for years. Is it worth the gamble?

I’m convinced, but now what?

  • Well, first, you need to work out who you like best. If you’re like me, you’re voting strategically this time to get a government committed to electoral reform. If that’s your bag, and I hope it is, head over to www.votetogether.ca to find out who the best candidate to beat the conservatives in your riding is. If it’s not a swing riding, congrats! Feel free to vote with your conscience. Head over to www.votecompass.com to figure out which party aligns with you the most. It might surprise you.
  • Register to vote. This isn’t a big deal. You can do it on the day of too, but there may already be lines so the less paperwork you need to deal with at the polls, the faster you can get in and out. To register or find our where you can vote, just head over to www.elections.ca. They’ve done a great job considering Harper gutted their budget and legislated away much of their power.
  • VOTE. You are legally allowed to take 3 PAID hours off work if your work schedule does not allow for you to vote around it. There is literally no excuse not to. VOTE.
  • Watch the election results! This is optional, but hey, if you like hanging out in a pub to watch the Jays, why not watch the election? There’ll still be booze and colour commentary. There are events all over the city, so just find one near you and go have a well earned evening off.

See you on the other side of October 19!

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