I don’t believe I was the only person who was surprised this week when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to call an election for the end of September. The past few months have been very difficult ones for Canadians and to critics, this decision is costly and untimely.
After meeting with the Governor General to request that parliament be dissolved, Trudeau gave a speech and answered questions. He stated that the people of Canada need to provide direction for the future. Many criticized this stating that although he holds a minority, other parties were cooperating and that he, himself, had recently stated that he didn’t think an election would be a good choice.
There are many new issues to consider in this campaign. Of primary importance is the necessity to woo voters in a safe manner to prevent further spread of the pandemic that has crippled the economy and locked down global citizens. Other concerns include fiscal responsibility, generation of employment opportunities, provision of childcare options, promotion for physical and mental health as well as environmental protection.
Even before the official announcement, the media began broadcasting statistics regarding leader popularity as well as projections regarding the regionalization of each of the political parties.
Unfortunately, in the 2019 federal election less than 66% of eligible voters cast ballots. There are many reasons why this has and might continue to occur:
- Lack of interest – 35% of those who didn’t vote in 2019 stated that they just didn’t have any interest in politics.
- Age – Those who are 75 years and older might not choose or be able to cast ballots.
- Busyness – When hours are filled with activity voting might not be a priority
- Contentment – Those who think that things are “pretty good” may not think that voting is important.
- Disillusionment – If you think that your vote won’t make a difference then you might avoid casting it.
- Choice – Sometimes it may seem that all politicians are the same.
- Trust – When campaign promises are not honoured, people lose confidence in those who made them.
- Illness or disability – These can be significant barriers and prevent voters from exercising their right to vote.
- Electoral process – A small minority of voters may not understand the process or have problems proving their identity or address, both of which are requirements.
- Fear – This year some voters who are worried abut contamination may void voting.
Our humanness will be listening to and talking about the benefits that each candidate promises should they be elected. We want to have our rights preserved and our blessings expanded. But do we want to honour our responsibilities?
Are we willing to run for a seat in government or even support a party by campaigning for a candidate? Are we prepared to invest in researching the issues and advocating for the values that we want to preserve? Will we encourage and help others to get to the polls?
Winston Churchill stated: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”.
What are you willing to give that will provide clear direction for the future of Canada?
Lots to think about.