Driving to work, I turned on CKNW and the fantastic Jon McComb had Vancouver School Board’s Chair Patti Bacchus on, and she was giving a ridiculous excuse on why she and Vancouver City Council denied Chevron’s no strings donation of $500,000 to local schools.
Unfortunately, today’s column is not about how absolutely absurd that decision was. There is something ironic about a party called Vision that has none. But I digress.
After listening and reading people’s comments online, it has become evidently clear that, like me, everyone has an opinion. People love to go off on politicians and policies. However, something doesn’t add up. How many of you actually vote? Judging by the numbers over the years, not many.
It’s okay to criticize our governments. It is also okay to debate and question decisions, but only if you have done the one thing you have the democratic right and obligation to do – and its cast a ballot.
Civic elections are in full bloom and voting day is this Saturday on November 15, 2014. Over the years, voter turnout has been abysmal across this province. In fact, B.C. has the lowest voter turnout in the country for civic elections. Shameful.
Who knows the reasoning, and to be honest there is no good reason. To me, it’s just excuses. Voter turnout in municipal elections is rarely above 50 per cent of eligible voters and that’s just inexcusable. In 2011, local voter turnout was a measly 34 per cent for the City of Vancouver.
We have heard all of the nonsense before, “I can’t leave work to vote” or “I don’t think my vote makes a difference” or “I don’t like politicians” blah, blah, whine, whine.
Besides voting day, there was another significant date that we just honoured this week and that was Remembrance Day. Don’t get me started on how we have perverted it by making it one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Yes, I know, I’m about to sound like your grandfather and go off about how soldiers fought and died overseas so that we could have the freedom to vote. But guess what? True story. Now get off my lawn.
So for those of you who enjoy whining, remember that those things we complain about are far less important than what could have happened had soldiers not gone and defended our rights and freedoms.
Canadians soldiers didn’t storm the beaches of Normandy so that we could sit on our hands and pretend an election isn’t going on.
Let’s not trivialize that fact. We put our poppy on, we remember the fallen, but we sit on our butts when it comes down to doing the one thing that makes us Canadian, something that personifies the truest of freedoms. Wearing a poppy and not voting is one of the most hypocritical things you can do.
We live in a democratic society where we can vote for whoever is on the ballot without worrying about getting our hands cut off.
We take our current situation for granted. The fact that I can write these columns and not worry about being kidnapped and executed is a freedom I’m quite aware of. I tweet @PMHarper almost daily about how he has damaged this country, but I’m not scared that some men in black pajamas will show up to take me away.
I, like many of you, get frustrated with most politicians. A lot of people who go into politics mean well but it seems that once they are in the muck they become different people or lose their way.
It appears that some of these politician’s values, excitement and eagerness to make changes get washed away as some become puppets for special interest groups and corporations. We get that politics can suck but does that mean we should give up?
These excuses like apathy are just that, excuses. So you dislike the system? Go and vote.
Can’t leave work to vote? Yes you can because it’s the law; your boss has to allow you to participate. Besides, the election falls on a Saturday. Find a voting station near you and giver.
Some have said voter turnout or participation would increase if we could vote online. Be careful what you wish for, because although we might be headed in that direction, things become less transparent and murkier when machines calculate things. Who controls the machines? Mind. Blown.
Speaking of going online, go and do your research. Vote for the candidate that you can at least identify with to some degree. Sure it’s only civic elections but it’s your community and the things that get passed by City Council affect you more than anything Stephen Harper does on the Hill.
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So stop bitching, stop moaning, stop complaining and get off your butt and vote. Feel free to be pissed at Prime Minister Harper, get angry with Premier Christy Clark, go off on your City Council or Mayor, but only if you put an X on a ballot and pop it into a box.
If you can’t do that one simple thing than sshhh… because your opinion doesn’t matter. November 15 is your chance to make a difference in your community, otherwise the poppy you wore earlier this week was just a cheap fashion accessory.
Jordan Yerman of the Vancouver Observer wrote a great piece called Everything You Need to Know about the 2014 Vancouver Civic Election. I recommend you read it prior to voting day.
What say you?
Feel free to comment below, or tweet at @VancityBuzz or me @TrevDueck.
On November 15, City of Vancouver residents can vote at ANY of the nearly 120 polling stations. Learn more here.
Feature picture courtesy of CBC.ca