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Your Vote is Your Say and It Counts – May 2, 2011

Why is Canada a great place to live? We are all about to find out on May 2, 2011; Federal Election Day.

Love it or hate it we get one day every few years to decide who is going to be our Prime Minister, our government and our public face to the world for the next 4-5 years (we hope).  If we don’t elect a majority government, then the perch of a minority government is a little more precarious and we get to do this a little more often; as we just found out.  This is not uncommon in our history and I encourage you to read up on the history of governments in Canada, here and the history of elections and majority/minority governments, here.

I have long felt and believe that voting is one of the most important things you get to do as an adult.  As a rule we like to complain about things in Canada.  The price of gas, the number of winning “cups” we get from Tim Hortons, the weather, winter cold, summer heat and the government.  The truth is we have very little control over most of those things.  We do get some control over the government.  We control who is elected and why.

In order to complain about what is happening and the rules and laws that are being written by the government, you have to take a stand.  You don’t have to share who you vote for but on Election Day; you only have to get out, mark a ballot properly and care about the decision you are making.   The more effort you put into your decision and encouraging those around you to do the same, the better the results will be.  It is no different from anything else in society and daily life.

I have always voted based on the platform laid out by the party leaders.  No matter who is running locally, the platform on the national level is what matters, in my opinion.  That is what will impact me and my livelihood the most. An old friend of mine used to say, “Vote for the party, not the individual”. They ran for office, so I have to believe they knew what they were talking about.

Any elected official will try to help you on the local level once they are in power. They will be expected by the party leader to “tow the party line” as well. They are as tied to that platform as anyone. That’s why voting for the ideology, ideas and roadmap that best suits you and your livelihood is important.  Our job in an election is to put the right person into leadership and in this case it is on the national level. That’s why voting for party, platform and leader is critical, in my view. Sure, the parties have historically made bad decisions once in power by turning their backs on the platform they laid out.  This only works once.  In order to preserve their interest in governing they learn that turning their backs on those that got them there is not a wise idea.

I personally hope and believe that government is on the road to better things.  The last municipal elections seemed to show a real interest in change, better leadership and better government right through Southern Ontario.  I am hopeful that this will happen on the Federal level on May 2, 2011.

It is true that everyone only gets ONE vote.  It is also true that every vote counts.  There are parts of the world where people go to war for the right to vote.  We get to do so freely on May 2.  Please don’t take the right to vote lightly or for granted.

Your vote is your say and it counts!