Down to the Wire
by Kenneth H. Young CD
With only days left until the election, or maybe I should say until Voting Day, we must not get complacent, believing that this person has already won or lost so my vote doesn’t count.
Your vote may count more after an election than for the election itself. Those voting lists where they strike off your name when you vote become the Politicians’ Bible when it comes to platforms and what any party will or won’t do for the Canadian people in the coming years.
No, they do not tell anybody who you voted for, who your second choice would have been or even why you voted, but it does give political parties demographic information about voters by age group, income bracket, ethnic group and what geographical group voted and in which percentages. It works like your grocery-store points card, which gives the store tons of marketing information that guides store managers on what products to stock, how many tellers to assign during specified time frames, and even when to re-order stock.
The government uses post-election information to determine what part of the public listened to its messages, which demographic group still has issues it has to address, which age group requires programs to solidify their loyalty, and even which group to ignore because their efforts would be wasted since they don’t vote anyway. A cynic would say the government is analyzing who it needs to butter up in time for the next election.
The parties not in power analyze voters’ lists to find out what platforms to argue in the House of commons, which bills to vote for or against, and what sort of a platform to have ready for the next election.
Every elected party will reward the people they feel got them elected. That’s usually seen in government programs or grants awarded to groups or communities the government believes will buy it future votes when they target their wants or needs. This is why the Big Oil companies and the communities they support have received so many rewards from a government who holds the majority of its seats in Oil country and also why students and youth have received so little. It really wouldn’t have mattered which party was in charge in Ottawa if they had all the seats from Alberta and only 27% of students bothered to vote.
In this matter of voter influence, veterans come to mind. Veterans — even though 700,000 strong, because we haven’t been organized in the past and we are not known to vote as a block — have been left off of the government’s HELP list. I believe this is because Ottawa believes that we will cancel out each other’s votes or give up voting out of frustration so there is no need to bother about us.
There are only a few ways to change this. First and foremost is to VOTE. Encourage everyone you know to vote. This gets your demographic needs recognized. Then use the social media such as Facebook and Twitter to share with others enduring the same issues or problems as you across the country. Your group becomes your public voice with the potential to form a block of influential votes.
In short, if you want the Government to hear and deal with your needs and issues, you have to show politicians that you can make it worth their while to do something about them. Never forget that any promise made during an election is not binding. Neither is any offer of support. However, if you don’t vote, your interests and needs definitely fall into the “ignore” category because you don’t exist to either the government or other parties tracking future votes. You are faceless and voiceless. This is why in past elections 41% of Canadians and more then 70% of students have been ignored. So, if you don’t vote in this election, you will once again be trashed. Is this what you want?
Veterans are fed up. Their needs and issues have been ignored for too long. The sleeping giant has awakened. This is why veterans have organized themselves for this election. Now all parties, not just the government, realize we have a public voice, and that we do represent an influential block of votes across the country. We are going to make sure veterans’ issues are never ignored again. We have learned our lesson. Have you?
To achieve change, VOTE.
For all those people who have no idea where their voting booth will be http://www.ndp.ca/voteKenneth H. Young CD
Canadian Veterans Advocacy
Agent Orange Association of Canada