By Dominique Blain
This Monday, I don’t think I’ll be able to vote.
Choosing the lesser of all evils is a losing proposition for me; the best I can do is walk away. Before you start on me, let me advise that I have heard it all. It’s my civic duty; If I don’t vote I can’t complain; If I don’t vote the Conservatives might get in. Yadda yadda yadda.
Hey, maybe I want the Conservatives to get in (but more on that later). There’s a reason that youth are despondent — or worse, apathetic — about politics in Canada. We’re despondent because the system sucks. And I maintain that it makes no difference for whom I vote: in the end, the big party that gets the power will act just like any other big party in power. It’ll do what it wants and ignore me.
It’s a familiar song because many of us have always felt it; to our elders it’s an alien song and they don’t really care to hear it. I suppose it’s irresponsible to declare outright that I may not vote. Do not suppose that I condone voting; in fact, I know I’ll feel rather guilty if I don’t vote. The fact of the matter is, I want to abstain.
But I can’t, because the federal government won’t let me. It turns out that while you can abstain provincially, the best you can do federally is spoil your ballot. (And it turns out I won’t be able to eat my ballot — which could be a problem, since my first reflex when confronted with a dilemma is to eat.) In the end, however, I’m not abandoning the world of Canadian politics altogether — there’s no way I’ll leave “those” people in charge of my life without having a word.
While some list voting as a person’s first civic duty, I think informing yourself and staying aware of our politicos is primordial. You just can’t trust a person or administration with unchecked powers; the temptation to get dictatorial is apparently too much to handle for the kinds of people who run for office in the first place.
This is true at any level and it affects you at all levels. In any case, for the near future there is only one goal I have for our government, and my vote will not accomplish it (despite any party promises you may have heard, which, you should all know by now, are completely empty). I want a true democracy. Canada is a great country and our government could certainly be worse. But in the end, it just doesn’t work.
Parties consistently get many more or fewer seats than the actual vote counts dictate because of the way our electoral map works. And it also means we are not all created equal: Some votes are worth more than others (hello, P.E.I.). Meanwhile our senate is a complete waste of money and our parliament runs unchecked. The solution couldn’t be more obvious: elect the Senate and make them keep tabs on our Parliament (with details to be ironed out, of course).
But our faithful, elected leaders make sure they don’t do anything about it. And why should they? After all, this is the system that got them in. Revolution only happens when the people get pissed off enough; if having a Conservative majority is what it takes to wake us up as a mass and revolt, then, I say, bring it on.