Today is the day! I don’t expect everyone to have had today highlighted in their agenda for weeks, like I did. My job calls for Election Day to be a major event where my 9 – 5 turns into a 9 – midnight, or later. But what I do expect is for you all to exercise your right as a Canadian living in a democratic society and vote.
It will have been hard to miss that the provincial election was approaching with current Liberal Premier, Dalton McGuinty, Progressive Conservative candidate, Tim Hudak and New Democratic Party candidate, Andrea Horwath, gracing the front of all major papers every other day. Despite a last minute surge in popularity for the Liberals, tonight promises to be a close race which means, as always, that every vote counts.
While the spotlight tonight is mainly on who will take over the reigns for controlling Ontario, it is your duty to vote for whom you think would be the best Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) and will represent the neighbourhood you live in at Queen’s Park. It wasn’t really until I started working in community news that I realized how important these people are and how much you want someone with a good work ethic in your corner. Ever complain that the wait times at your local clinic are insane, that the quality of the highway in the section you live in needs some major roadwork or that as a newly graduated student you’re having a really hard time finding a job? These are the people you’re going to have to turn to. Their job is to jockey for the place you live in to get more funds and get your fair share of the provincial pie.
The main reason, however, that I urge you to vote is that not enough young people do. Currently, every politician’s platform is directed at middle aged and elderly citizens, because they are the ones that vote. If you ever wonder why the subject of rising tuition costs isn’t discussed more, that is the reason. Why you hear tonnes about foreign workers and pension plans, and job security but not as much about how thousands of university students graduate into debt and can’t find employment. It is a serious issue and it’s not going to change unless young people take the literal 10 minutes out of their day to go and vote. Even if you haven’t been following the election with the wonderful World Wide Web it would take one Google search and a few clicks to educate yourself on your riding and who’s running. Don’t say, “I don’t know anything about them” or “I don’t really care”. You don’t care now because there’s not much in their platforms that concern you, but if more young people started to vote that would change. And if you really are that unsure, at least go and scratch your ballot. It will still be recorded that you, your gender, your age and resident of whatever riding you’re in, voted and had a voice.
You’ll feel empowered after you do it, I promise … In a nutshell.