Living in western societies we often take our right to vote for granted. Low voter turnout can be seen across the board from municipal elections, provincial ones, and even the federal elections -- in fairness it tends to get better the higher the level of government -- and it is for lack of a better word: depressing.
The entire school in Ayr, Scotland, vibrated with anticipation. The lunchroom sounded more like a debate hall than a cafeteria. Kirsty McCahill watched the clock tick down to the closing bell. She rushed home, then to the nearby community centre to do what no Scottish 16-year-old had ever done before that day: vote on the future of her country.
Surrey needs to return to the ward system. A candidate doesn't need thousands of dollars to run a city-wide campaign or to seek the nomination of a political slate. Independents would have a good chance of getting elected. This is because the elections would be held in smaller neighbourhood districts or wards. This would give Surrey the same representation as Vancouver -- which is more than appropriate considering the growing size and stature of Surrey.
Now here comes my confession: I don't know how to vote. In any of these elections. It's embarrassing because I really love politics. I talk about it all the time. I mean, I work at Samara, an organization that works to strengthen political participation in Canada. I literally (and I mean literally in the actual literal sense) spend my whole day working on civic engagement. How could this happen to me?
Like millions of Ontarians, I don't care about Ontario politics; Why should I? Have no doubt: the Ontario premier is an insignificant figure on the world stage. Premier Wynne: Welcome to the new economy. Young people are more politically engaged and self-aware than older generations. Want to stop an election scandal or influence Senate reform? Don't write a letter to the editor of legacy print media. Start a YouTube channel. Tell us the truth and we might vote. We're smarter than you think we are.
A citizen-based view of elections takes the view that voter participation independent of party is an important democratic goal in itself. That our democracy is healthier and stronger if more citizens exercised their right to vote habitually. Only one player in the electoral process has this interest at its core, and that is the independent, non-partisan Chief Electoral Officer.
As citizens of the "free world" -- North Americans, at least -- we have a great power bestowed upon us: the right to vote. Yet this basic right is often taken for granted. Understandably, enacting one's support for politicians can be frustrating, but fundamentally they are chosen by us to manage our tax dollars. And listen up: you pay taxes.
The bill eliminates two methods of voting that have proven effective in enfranchising voters. One is the long-standing Canadian practice of vouching that allowed 120,000 people to vote in 2011. The other is Elections Canada's expanded use of its Voter Identification Cards (VICs) for youth attending university, seniors in residence, and Aboriginal people living on reserve.
I recently delivered a TEDxTalk in Toronto's Distillery District, inspired by the event theme "invented here." I wanted to talk about politics, but I knew if I did that, I'd likely lose the audience. So I explored the reasons behind the yawn reflex when someone mentions politics: I titled my talk "How to Hate Politics."
The most revealing moment of Russell Brand's Newsnight interview is when Paxman asks what his revolution will be like. Brand begins his response: "Well I'll tell you what it won't be like." This response, which knows not what it wants and only what it doesn't want, is indicative of what I've come to think of as Che Activism.
Notorious bad boy, Russell Brand, may have recently started a revolution. Or not. In his interview with BBC journalist Jeremy Paxman, Brand expressed his frustration with the status quo and explained why he's never voted in his entire life. He did so with intelligence and disarming charm.The trouble, however, with Russell Brand's call for a revolution is, while it may speak to people because it sounds terribly dangerous and sexy in a "fuck-it-all, let's start from scratch" kind of way, it offers no real solutions. It's not by rejecting democracy that you create change, because, in a democracy, change can only happen within the system.
Canadians' appetite for naming their favourite restaurant is proving to be insatiable. With six weeks left in public voting for the 2013 Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada, two of the nation's most acclaimed establishments are in a tight battle for the People's Choice award -- which is determined by votes from Canadians.
I'm told that 30 is a big step in the long march from an idealistic youth to a staunchly conservative mid-life. I'm pretty sure I won't become any less idealistic in my approaching dotage. I will still advocate for these same policies; the only difference being that as an adult my opinions are taken seriously. Why do we have such low expectations for young people?
Currently, MPs only need to better their opponent by one vote to get elected. In the last general election, the Conservatives won 39.62 per cent of the popular vote but gained 53.90 per cent of the seats. There have been many discussions on how to fix that apparent unfairness. A more practical proposal would be a preferential ballot system.
What an exciting time to be a political addict in Canada. Who says Canadian politics is boring? People who aren't paying attention, that's who. First, the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, was removed from office. Second, we find out that Mark Carney got headhunted to the U.K. And elections, you know, the best sport ever? There were three! And they weren't boring, at all.
Tuesday, election day, is going to be a big day, there's no doubt about it. Americans when they go to the polls will be deciding the direction their country takes -- on the economy, health care, big or small government, taxes, marriage, abortion and foreign policy -- for the next four years. But I'd like to talk about what to my mind is an even bigger day -- Wednesday, the day after the election -- because one very important thing in America needs to change and Wednesday is when it has to start.