All kinds make up the Corps of our military forces, but by and large, I have found that the most positive-minded, idealistic people I know are “soldiers,” which is the word I use here to represent all branches and ranks of the service. No matter what they are asked and often commanded to do, they do with admirable cheer and a willing belief they are doing them for the right reasons and for the best outcome. In the past year, our vets have broken their oath of silence in protest of the government’s mistreatment of their care following dedicated service. The Canadian public needs to know how past and present governments have failed them, indeed abused their rights as citizens. This series consists of articles written by vet advocates to demonstrate their careful logical and patriotic thinking as they post the reasons behind their vocal movement. BONNIE
Our VOTE can make a difference
by Kenneth H. Young CD
You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it: “Who the hell do you vote for? Both the Liberals and the Conservatives are the same … the NDP would probably bankrupt us … the Bloc don’t care about the rest of Canada.”
In the next breath, they suggest, “Don’t vote … Spoil your ballot … Write the word VOTE on the ballot … Vote anything but Conservative,” plus many other comments not worth writing down. No matter. All lead to one indisputable end, the same mess we now suffer.
Destroying your ballot is the same as not voting. It’s not counted because, like a non-vote, election officials have no idea who the voter wanted to support. All you’ve done is waste your time, energy and gas getting to the poll to cast a ballot that is rejected.
To write in the word Vote or the name of someone you favour over the candidates listed will accomplish the same as destroying your vote. Even if you could get enough people in any one riding to write the same name in so that that person gains more votes than anyone else, your pick would still not be elected because he or she was not registered for the election. Proper voting procedures have to be followed or elections would become impossible to manage.
“Anything but Conservative” sounds good, but usually that tactic splits the vote so badly the very people you do not want in are elected right up the middle.
Our electoral system is based on the people who vote, not on eligible voters overall. In Canada, the usual turnout to elections runs around 60% of the total population. If you don’t vote, you have no influence over how your country is run.
Our political parties receive next-election funding on a per vote basis from the last election. I believe it is a dollar and something per vote but that doesn’t matter. What does is that, if 45% of the people don’t vote, the non-voter is forcing our political parties to try and get 45% of their election money for the next election from somewhere else. You know – from corporations, industry, big business and backroom deals. The winning party awards large corporate tax cuts, tax exemptions, grants and tax breaks as a result. Your vote is important if for no other reason than to assure that smaller opposition parties have sufficient money to continue fighting the “big four.”
I have no problem with a coalition or a minority government as long as the people in charge realize that they have to get along with at least enough of the opposition to pass legislation and continue to run government. After all, most of the best things – the things we take pride in about Canada – came about during and maybe even because of a minority government and the political need to compromise: Employment Insurance, Old Age Security, Canadian Pension Plan, Medical Health Plans. Unfortunately, such benefits are threatened by those who refuse to listen and/or to compromise in the public’s best interests.
To me there is a further problem with Canadian politics: the lack of ideological integrity. We see MPs crossing the Commons floor from one party to another. Now correct me if I am wrong but our political parties are supposed to have different and fundamentally opposing opinions on just about everything. Otherwise, we have a one-party system the same as the communists, with no actual choice. Seeing politicians who are so easily and quickly interchangeable makes me wonder why they are in Parliament. Could it be because of the perks of their job rather than for the ideals of democratic representation?
The Party vote is another sore point for me. I understand that there needs to be a party vote for budgets, on opposition confidence votes and maybe even on high-profile election-promised legislation, but the constant use of a party and/or confidence vote also seems to execute party-leader control. We vote for the party because of its leader rather than because of what the party stands for, so what we get after an election is the leader enforcing what he wants passed in the House rather than the result of parliamentary discussion and debate. It’s my-way-or-the-highway politics.
Even with a minority government, Ottawa no longer appears to listen to the people. Because of this, I can almost understand the forty-five or so percent of voters who no longer bother to vote. ALMOST. But, we CAN change these problems.
Does anyone realize just how strong the Voter is? Lately, 35% of the popular vote has determined which party is in power. If 35% of the vote can run the country out of only 55% eligible voters who actually vote, it means a mere 19 1/4 % of Canadians voters are running the country. Think about it. If any party was to win 45% of the national vote instead of 35%, it would not only gain it a few more seats, it would also allow it to form the next government. Almost no election in Canada has ever been won with that high a percentage of the popular vote.
For now, however, with 45% of voters effectively out of the picture, the governing party no longer respects the citizens of Canada nor fears voters’ power to throw them out of office. But, if we could give non-voters a reason to vote again, we could empower Canadians to believe in their country again.
There are alternatives to the disappointing Big Four: Conservatives, Liberals, NDP and BLOC. Can you imagine if the Green Party, the Rhino Party or even independent MPs held the balance of power in Ottawa? Listen to them. In the last election, the most convincing leader in the TV debate was the Green Party’s Elizabeth May
Look, if you feel disenfranchised, neglected and ignored by Ottawa, as a voting citizen of Canada, get off of your collective butts and change it. Vote for anybody but the big four. It probably won’t make all that much difference, but it will definitely shake up the political system here in Canada. It would be our program of “Politically Scared Straight.” You know, like the prison systems’ “Scared Straight” where long-term crooks help scare young offenders straight by telling and showing them what they have to look forward to if they remain on the same path in life.
Now I am not telling you who to vote for. I am not even telling why one party is better or worse than the next. That is a choice you all have to make on your own. What I am trying to do here is to show and explain that we do not have to take it anymore. We do not have to accept everything our current government shoves down our throats if we don’t let them. Come election time, the only thing politicians fear is the VOTER.
The VOTER controls the game but only if you vote.Kenneth H. Young CD Destroying Chemical Use – Before Chemical Use Destroys Me. http://www.agentorangecanada.com/ http://www.agentorangealert.com http://www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/blog-blogue/blog-blogue-eng.cfm