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April 13, 2011


I didn't choose to exercise my democratic privilege until 3 years ago, despite having reached the age of eligibility 8 years prior. Tragic. I was a self-involved, apathetic youth. I didn't understand the importance and power of my voice and worse, I didn't care. I DIDN'T CARE. While people were being left to starve to death on the streets of North Korea by a terrorist dictator who robbed them not only of food but also free thought, I casually allowed elections to pass on without any regard for my own wealth of freedom. While the oppressed were rising and fighting for the simple leisure of expressing a challenging idea, I was throwing my voice away like a fart in the wind. Freedom fighters of the world were proudly and bravely dying for the basic right to stand in line and mark their voice with a single stroke of a pen, a freedom that was my birthright, an honor I neglected for a hair cut and an afternoon soap opera.

Despite my intolerable shame over such arrogant neglect, I am fessing up to this truth in hopes that it may inspire Canadians, in particular young Canadians, to relinquish a few minutes of time, and VOTE in the next Canadian Federal Election. Hindsight is 20/20 and holy fuck I HATE that particular stock cliche phrase more than any other BUT it's right. I cannot stress enough how much I regret my youthful complacency. 'I can see clearly now, the green fog of youthful guilt free naivete is gone'.

In reflection I'm certain the inner dialogue of my young self with regards to voting probably sounded rebellious and helpless. 'FUCK ALL politics and politicians!', 'Voting is a futile waste of time', 'My single vote will not defeat the will of the corrupt and greedy'. (I can't imagine my inner dialogue was quite as poetic but it was probably as dramatic). I'm confident that these particular thoughts were and are the conclusions of many youths and Canadians alike. Though I cannot dispute that the Canadian government has failed and disappointed its people on many issues and though I cannot promise that a single vote will provoke immediate change, I CAN argue that WITHOUT your voice, those past/present and future whispers of change will NEVER become the shrieking bellow that is needed to move the mountain.

The voter audience in Canada is receding into their retirement, nursing homes and cemeteries. Statistics show a tragic decline in voter turn out and the last Parliament was selected by less than 60 percent of registered voters . If this downward trend continues Canada's government will be chosen by fewer than half of its citizens and democracy as we know it will fold into the pages of our history. VOTING MATTERS. I realize the Canadian electoral system is frustrating. The system needs to change. For example, when I go to the polls this election I feel inclined to vote strategically, however, admittedly, a strategic vote would be wasted because my chosen party will never win in my riding, (though could win overall if I was simply voting for PM). Canadian voters can quickly feel jaded and defeated with the electoral process. So why, you might ask, why vote? WHY? Because (without trying to sound like I'm quoting an Obama soliloquy) WE CAN. The act of voting is more than just a show of hands, it is an act of solidarity, it is an act of independence, it is an act of engagement and resistance. It is an act of freedom. We are a democracy and we live in a country that allows FREE thought. I know it may be difficult to understand how precious a thought may be, however, it is the one liberty of them all that we must protect. It is the first liberty to be taken in a tyrannized country and the single worst liberty you can ever take from any human being. I vote not only to fight for my voice as a Canadian citizen, but I vote to remind myself of my privileges and to honor those in the world whose freedoms have been disregarded and unwillingly taken. The WORLD can be a disheartening and gloomy place but until it sinks into its ocean and we all dissolve into bone and ash, we need to keep fighting, striving and trying for whatever piece of freedom we can procure. Otherwise we might as well bite the bullet.

The Federal Election takes place May 2nd, 2011. To register to vote or general inquires about where to vote in your area, go to