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beyond the ballot

Have transgender issues been addressed in this election campaign?
"Every generation or two kids get momentarily enthused ... but generally it's people in our generation that actually vote rigorously."
The glaring gaps in drug coverage for Canadian children are made stranger by the economic dimensions of the issue. Children's health care represents a drop in the ocean of health care budgets -- extending universal drug coverage to children would constitute a small fraction of total pharmaceutical spending.
We've figured out a simple truth: we're in this together. Our neighbour's strength is our strength; the success of any one of us is the success of every one of us. But this is incredibly fragile. It must be protected always from the voices of intolerance, divisiveness, small-mindedness, and hatred. It's the right thing to do.
In this election we are raising issues that matter to young Canadians. Mental health is a big one. A report by Alberta's Institute of Health Economics states that just seven cents of every dollar spent on health care in Canada goes to mental health. That's despite the fact mental disorders account for 40 per cent of all illnesses Canadians face. Canadian governments must dramatically increase funding, investing in accessible community-based mental health care -- if Canada could reduce the annual rate of mental illnesses by 10 per cent, it would save our health care system four billion dollars a year.
For nine years, we have lived under a Harper government -- the only government most of my generation has ever known. During this time, our leaders have ignored youth unemployment, climate change, and student debt. I almost didn't vote in the last election because I figured it wouldn't make a difference. I feel entirely different this time around.
"We at least need to start dealing with the issues and not pretending they're not there."
Canada must talk about the real challenges facing our country -- our response to the greatest threat humanity faces, climate change. We should be talking about trade deals, endangered species, protecting water resources, our responsibilities to the rest of the world and so much more. Instead, this election has bogged down into "dead cat" distractions like niqabs, an issue that affects almost no one!
What do seniors want? What will seniors get? Who gets the seniors' vote? Now that "everybody knows" that seniors are Canada's most committed voters -- peaking at 75 per cent turnout when the general turnout was 61 per cent in 2011, politicians of all stripes are pitching for their vote.
For more than two decades, Mark Jaccard has been penning "report cards" about Canada's environmental track record. The results haven't been pretty. His annual evaluations were harnessed in the mid-2000s by Stephen Harper as arguments for why the Conservatives deserved a shot at governing the country. Jaccard's latest report card, released on October 6, concludes the Conservative Party has since "implemented virtually no policies that would materially reduce emissions" despite making significant emissions pledges for 2020 and 2050. Jaccard concludes the absence of such actions shows "they must have had no intention" of dealing with climate change.