Those who know me know that I have opinions. Here are a few.
I want the best medical care. I mean top drawer. When I go in to the hospital, I want the staff there to be well equipped and compensated.
I want our education system to deliver a high achieving youth. The envy of the world. I want lots of job opportunities for them right here at home.
I want our aging population to be treated with dignity.
When I retire in 30 years, I want a pension cheque.
I want our country to be secure from the threat of terrorism, global and domestic.
I want all these services but I don’t want my taxes to go up and I don’t want the government to run a deficit.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
We all have opinions about how we want Canada to be run. Opinions don’t translate into votes. I wish they did, because I think every political party would have a vastly different approach at election time. Right now, the three main parties (sorry Green Party) know that our average voter turnout tops out at around 60 per cent.
Those 60 per cent are primarily made up of party faithful and politically engaged Canadians. So the party platforms are geared to appease their base and see if they can steal a few votes from the other parties.
That’s how you win elections.
The average Canadians who do not belong to a particular party or are not engaged politically are not considered when planning an election campaign.
The likelihood that they will vote is slim and so the risk that they could effect the outcome is not on the radar.
Let’s call these Canadians the 40 per cent.
After the election is over, the 40 per cent say things like: “I didn’t have time to vote” or “They are all crooks anyway,” and my personal favourite: “I didn’t vote because what difference does it make?”
That statement that makes my blood boil.
If your taxes go up because the government runs a massive deficit, would that make a difference to you?
If you or a family member need a specific health care service, denied by or not available in our medical system, would that affect you?
If you plan to retire and you don’t have an employer pension, the choices made in the House of Commons with regard to pension reform affect you, don’t they?
If you own or work in a business that needs to be able to trade in a worldwide market, do the trade policies of the government affect you?
Don’t take me wrong, I’m not saying you must be an expert in the day to day workings of the government and the platforms of the main parties.
Just pick a couple of issues relevant to you and your family. Then find out where your local candidates and the parties they represent stand on these issues.
After you do this, cast a vote.
We are all affected by those who make decisions in government, whether that be local, provincial or federal. We all have opinions on how we think things should be done.
The local coffee shop patrons are solving world problems every day.
The only way to participate in our democracy, other than having your name on a ballot, is to vote.
It only takes a few minutes from your life but the choices made on Oct. 19, will affect you and generations of your family.
Vote. Encourage your friends and families to vote.
Then head to the coffee shop.
Rob Murphy is the sales manager at the Summerland Review.