Monday, February 12, 2007

Voter Apathy

Last week I was a scrutineer at a voting location in one of Ontario's 3 byelections. Although my one location falls well short of statistical accuracy, I was appalled at the low voter turnout. Each poll had only 10-20% of eligible voters cast their ballots.

I took it upon myself to brave the cold and canvass homes asking people to cast their ballots regardless of the party they support. Excuses ranged from the weather (mind you I was going door to door in this subzero temperature) to people telling me that they weren’t interested. “Interested?” I asked. It wasn’t as if I was peddling vacuum cleaners or saving souls. I was asking people to exercise their democratic rights. What angered me most were the non-voting immigrants to this country who fled from fascist dictatorships. They came seeking democracy yet they couldn’t be bothered to vote! I had to question myself on the purpose of their migration.

I cannot help but smile at the irony when politicians shout, “The people of Canada have spoken” when they see election victories. The people of Canada have said that they don’t care and the politicians are listening.

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