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It's his Canada, too

As I hope all Canadians know, we have an election on Monday.

AGAIN.

And yes, we’re tired of elections that don’t change anything and just cost a lot of our money.

YES, we’re frustrated by the first-past-the-post system (I’m in one of those ridings where my vote won’t really count. Even the other MPs don’t think they have a chance. The alternative options are a slouching guy in a funny hat and a shiny 19 year old in university).

YES, the polls are pretty clear about who is going to win the election.

And YES, that means that we may have to go through this whole rigmarole again.

So you totally need to vote:

1. “I’m tired of elections that don’t change anything and just cost a lot of money.”

Then you should totally vote. The money is being spent. Get your money’s worth, at least. Also, if no one votes in this election, everyone is going to be like “k, that one doesn’t count!” and they’ll give us ANOTHER. If there’s a big turnout, then it will be hard to argue that the will of the people is not reflected by the current government.

2. “I’m frustrated by the first-past-the-post system. One party is winning by a landslide in my riding, so my vote won’t count.”

In the Canadian system, sadly, that is true. But in that case, why don’t you vote swap with someone else? If you do that, your vote will count, so you should totally vote.

3. “I don’t trust vote swapping. What if the other guy just votes for his party anyway? Then I’ve been tricked into giving the other guy a double vote.”

Sure that is always a risk… but you didn’t think your vote counted anyway, right? Are you now saying that an extra vote would make a difference? If so, you should totally vote.

4. “I just don’t care who wins.”

Then you don’t get to complain about anything, ever. Taxes too high? Well, you should have voted. No jobs? Well, you should have voted. EI cheque too small? Well, you should have voted. The Prime Minister has proposed a new law to force all Canadians to wear bowling shoes and beanie hats? You really should have voted.

5. “I don’t know what’s going on. I feel like I won’t be making an informed decision.”

Let me Google that for you. Or, if all those words confuse you, here’s a summary of the Harper years with big pictures and comic-book speech bubbles. Form an opinion, for gawdsake. Taxes? Jobs? Economy? Religion? Freedom of Speech? Environment? These things affect you. Spend ten minutes informing yourself, and then you can bloody well vote.

6. “That doesn’t help me. I still can’t decide who to vote for. Everyone’s saying different things. I don’t know who to believe.”

Let me introduce you to Vote Compass. It examines your political views and tells you which parties fit you best. Now you can vote.

7. “Vote Compass dropped me smack in the middle of three left-wing parties. I still don’t know who to vote for.” In that case, why don’t you visit Project Democracy and see who has the best chance of winning in your riding? You’re a perfect candidate for strategic voting, because any one of several parties would suit your views. So you should definitely vote.

8. “There’s no one I want to support. The candidates are all crooks and they’re ugly.”

It’s true that Ignatieff’s creepy eyebrows look like they were scribbled on by Harper while he slept, and that whenever Harper leans into the microphone, I half expect him to moan “braaaaaaaaaaaains”, and that Jack Layton looks like a used car salesman and his chin is too pointy. The party leaders have the combined charisma of an arachnid, I know.

But remember this: the elections are determined by percentage points, not sheer numbers. So your vote actually counts twice – it adds to the percentage of the candidate you vote for, and it dilutes the percentages of the other candidates. So go vote for, like, the Pirate Party or something and screw them all over. It’s your electoral right! With a vote swap you could actually have a chance at voting in an Independant or similar MP who would take a seat in Parliament from the other parties.

It’s not ALL about who is the Prime Minister. MPs have power too. OBVIOUSLY, or we wouldn’t be having an election. Vote for the MP who looks the least useless.

9. “I hate the whole political system and I’m not going to support it by voting, because I’m all brilliant and cynical and DEEP like that.

Yeah, because the world’s history is filled with people who changed the world by simply NOT participating in Democracy while making whiny comments on the sidelines. If you hate the system so much, change it. Vote for the people who will make those changes, or even better, put your money where you mouth is and run as an independent next election.

10.  “Like, I still really don’t think one vote will, like, matter, and I totally have a hair appointment that day and it’s super important.”

That must be what 42% of Canadians said two years ago, because that’s how many people didn’t vote.

I think that nearly 10 million people probably COULD have made a difference last election, but maybe that’s just me.

In this election, the three biggest parties are 5 – 7 percentage points away from each other in the polls. 42% of the population could make a HELL of a difference in those numbers on the actual election day, so you should totally vote. 

Make the decision to vote, and then convince everyone you know to vote, too. Send them this link. Send them other links. Convince them, too. Then it isn’t just one vote, it’s ten votes. If all of your friends convince some other people to vote, it’s even more. And more. And the next thing you know, you’ve changed Canada’s political history, all by posting a few links and then checking a box on a slip of paper.

Besides, there’s a secret 11th reason why you should vote: You are legally entitled to three consecutive hours off on Monday, PAID, to vote.

BONUS, am I right?

11. “Maybe I’ll take the time off work “to vote”, but not waste my time voting.”

…Yes, you could do that, but that would make you a lazy, deceitful douchebag. In fact, don’t vote. Because I really don’t need my country’s future being determined by lazy, deceitful douchebags. You are excused. Watch out for George Takei on your way out the door.

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