It seems like all the rest of the world is up in arms. Meanwhile, Canada, a healthy liberal democracy where free speech is valued, is about to undergo its 41st federal election.
And we just sit on our couches.
Not even two thirds of Canadians voted in the last election. In the 18-to-24-year-old demographic, 37% cast a ballot. Yes, this is going to be a “Kids These Days” rant.
Dear Kids These Days, of which I am one:
It’s not just that you tend not to vote, not to care about politics. It’s that some of you apparently think that by not voting, you’re voicing your discontent with our electoral system. You think that refusing to vote, refusing even to go to the polling station and spoil your ballots, is sending a message to the people who hold elected offices in this country.
Not voting does send a message, but not the one you think (or pretend) you’re sending. It says, not that you think first-past-the-post voting sucks, not that neither of the two major parties represent you, not that you’re disgusted by corrupt politicians across the board, but that you’d rather maintain the shitty status quo than see change. It says that you think things are good enough as they are. It says that no matter what the previous government did that you disliked, it didn’t bother you enough that you wanted someone else to replace them.
When you vote, even if—especially if—you vote for someone who doesn’t have a snowflake’s chance in hell of getting a seat in Parliament, you’re still being counted. If 10% of the popular vote goes to the Green Party but they don’t get a seat, that’s fuel for the drive to adopt mixed-member proportional elections. If instead that 10% of voters just stayed home because they knew the candidates they wanted wouldn’t be elected, that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even voting for the lesser of two evils is better than not voting and letting the greater evil win.
So are you really serious about sending a message, or are you just lazy?
*Not that I’m setting a quota.