Voting was a big deal with my father. He had strong opinions and he expressed them . . . strongly, for sure. But the biggest deal with him was not how I was voting, but that I was voting. On my 18th birthday, he was on my case to get registered with the voters list.
“What if I don’t vote like you? What if I vote for a different party?” (That’s me being cheeky.)
“Well, that would be stupid, for sure,” he would say, “but you still have to vote. It’s your duty as a Canadian citizen.”
This, of course, followed by a 30-minute lecture on why his party choices were the best choices, the idiocy of the other guys platform, the common sense of his. In truth, I never even considered not voting, I just liked to play devils advocate sometimes and then paid the price for bearding the bear. But I learned a lot through those debates as well. I have voted in every single Federal and Provincial election since.
I am a minority, politically speaking, in this area where I now live. I am surrounded by people who’s extremely opposite views will almost certainly render my vote useless. Useless, but not pointless. Because when I show up at the polls this evening and mark my ballot and drop it in the box, I am still making a declaration of support for democracy, for the right of every citizen to participate in the election of this country’s leaders. I am saying to the world, and reassuring myself, that this is still a country where every citizen, regardless or colour, creed, or gender, can safely and fairly participate in the election process.
Look, I really do wish my party of choice would win, or even place (come to that.) And as hard as it is to say this, I will because we still have a few hours to get the job done and even if you are going to cast a ballot that I wouldn’t agree with – the most important thing is that you vote. It matters.
See you at the polls, Canada!