One of the nice things about being able to write this editorial is that I’m free to tell you what I think. Free from constraints of objective facts and painstaking research, I can just lay out my opinions on whatever issue of the day is bugging me, even do things like tell you how to think or how to vote, and, because it’s an editorial, nobody can really say much about it.
Not that I try to do that. So, while I’ve no illusions that anybody who reads my little editorials has any doubt about which party I would encourage people not to vote for, I’m not going to make that call. I think each of us has reasons of our own for voting how we do, and it’s really not my business to say that those reasons are wrong. Especially these days, when it seems so easy to point to failures and falsehoods coming from any party you care to name.
Considering everything, at this point, I’m almost ready to say “A pox on all your houses,” because with the combination of our electoral system and what’s on offer, the act of voting can seem pointless, especially if you’re already in a decided riding. From looking around in this riding, I think I’m not alone in this opinion, as I’ve never been through an election with such a dearth of lawn signs. As much as the parties want to get us inflamed, and as much as the partisans already are, here in Calgary, I’m not seeing much evidence on the ground that people are feeling terribly invested in the election. We’re almost all in decided ridings out here anyway, so what’s there to get passionate about, right?
But that’s the thing. It’s not a decided riding. Not yet anyway. None of the ridings are. We can predict, we can even predict with a fair degree of certainty in some cases. But the thing about elections is that they are based on people, and people can be fickle and surprise you. Even though they usually don’t. A decided riding can suddenly switch if enough people feel so confident in their eventual victory that they don’t bother voting. There can be a surprising uprising.
All of which is boiling down to the message of this editorial. Vote. If you pledge to vote with AUSU first, you can even get into a contest to win a free course, or perhaps a free ProctorU exam. But even if you’re not a current student and reading this, vote. Feel uninformed? Check out party websites. Don’t even know which parties are running in your riding? Elections Canada has all that info available, even links to candidates’ websites. Maybe you’ll find a smaller party or candidate that resonates with you. Even if you don’t think it will win, vote for it. Who knows, maybe enough of your neighbours take a shot just like you and a surprise happens. In my riding, for instance, beyond the majors you’ve already heard of, we have an independent candidate, a candidate from the Veterans Coalition Party, one from the Christian Heritage Party, and one from the Communist Party of Canada—in the middle of Calgary no less. Do I know what any of these stand for? Not really. But surely there’s someone in the nine candidates in my riding I find preferable. And if I do, maybe I’m not alone.
So vote. Vote for a “loser” if that’s what connects with you. Vote even if you know our system is going to throw your vote in the garbage and ignore it. Because you never know, maybe people will surprise you.