I have a confession to make – I have an addiction. My name is Dave and I’m a political junkie.
True story, I’ve been actively engaged in politics for most of my life. My earliest door knocking experience was as a youngster when my dad ran for city council. Since then I’ve knocked on tens of thousands of doors, made untold phone calls, ran for public office myself and worked on Parliament Hill. It’s been great and I’m still actively involved.
Whatever your political stripe, October 21 is an important day in the democratic life of our country. Why? Will your vote actually make a difference?
According to Wikipedia, since 1874 there have been 45 Canadian provincial or federal elections that ended either in a tie or separated by only a handful of votes. In all of these cases, either a handful or a single vote would have turned the loser into a winner. In one case, the winning party only won by one seat – a change in four single votes would have resulted in a tied parliament.
I know that policy and politics is not in everyone’s wheelhouse. For some people a root canal procedure without anesthetic would be more fun.
What needs to be remembered is that the decisions being made on October 21 will impact Canadians for the next four years – or longer. I would encourage you to view the election through several lenses and determine how they line up for you.
- Personal – what are the issues that are important to you and which party offers the most viable solutions?
- Business – what issues will be impacting your business and which party offers the most viable solutions?
- Family – what issues will impact your family, especially the next generation, and which party offers the most viable solutions?
- Province/Country – which party is casting the best visions for your province and the country?
If you find consistency in the outcomes to each of the above the categories, then you have likely arrived at the party that best suits your political position.
One of the biggest issues for Albertans will be the impact that the current government has had on the business environment. Delayed decisions and changes in policy, particularly regarding energy, have resulted in great uncertainty. This in turn has escalated out across all corners of the community and indeed to many parts of the country. As large businesses have downsized and many small and medium businesses have merged or closed, the impact rolls out to fewer people using restaurants, coffee shops and other service-based businesses. Ultimately, fewer taxes are paid, equalization payments decrease and the economy slows down.
We may not like the political and policy decisions that are made, but the worst scenario is when decisions are delayed. Creating momentum from a stalled economy with the clouds of political uncertainty hanging overhead is very difficult.
Of course, there are many people that have always voted the same way. The same way as their parents and grandparents. Your choice, but there are times that parties policies shift, and some people feel that their traditional party has left them behind.
I believe that democracy is worth fighting for. Many of our forebearers literally fought for the freedom to keep democracy. Many of our immigrants and refugees are coming to Canada because they do not have democracy in their home country. Ask them how special it is to cast their vote in a fair and democratic manner.
This is also a teachable moment for our children as well. Talking about this election over our Thanksgiving dinner gives us all time to share and exchange ideas and points of view. It was a proud personal moment when one of my children called me and said, “Guess what I did today? I voted for the first time.”
In many ways, the future of our country will be determined on October 21. I encourage you to exercise your right to vote and have your say.