Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware that the Canadian Federal Election is only 10 days away. The question is, will you be casting your vote to help shape the future of our country? If you’re a younger Canadian, the chances are not so great. Did you know that while 61% of eligible Canadians exercised their right to vote in the last election, only 38% of those 18-24 showed up to vote (compared to 75% of those 65-74)? This gap has been growing since the ’80s. Not cool.

Do politicians really want you to vote?

While we hear a lot about the need to engage the younger audience and get them out to vote, the real truth of the matter is that the youth vote probably scares the bejeezus out of our politicians. Isn’t that a great reason for voting in itself?

I’m not talking the pot party people!

Are politicians happy that you’re not voting? Look at the platforms of the big three political parties in Canada. What action or element is aimed at the youth? We hear a lot about seniors, childcare, family reunification and middle-class families. Youth unemployment? Not so much.

It can be argued that politicians are counting on you not to vote. The only way to change this thinking? Showing them that you will get out to the polls.

Let’s see what happens when the young do vote

Saying “my vote won’t make a difference” couldn’t be farther from the truth. Look at what happened in 2013 in Italy when the youth came out to vote, pulling the Five Star Movement from obscurity to front stage as Italy’s largest party.

It’s your right to voice… that wasn’t always the case

Canada is a democracy where all Canadians over the age of 18 have the right to vote regardless of gender or ethnicity. That didn’t happen overnight.

Women can thank the war for their right to vote.

Our ancestors fought hard to transform the privilege to vote into a right for everyone. It may seem like ancient times to you and I, but it hasn’t even been a century since Manitoba led the way in 1916 as the first Canadian province to give women the right to vote. World War I was a turning point, as with so many men away at war, women were vaulted into a more active role in the labour market and economy.

It wasn’t until the 1921 federal election that women were legally allowed to vote nationwide…. but not if they were Asian or Aboriginal. It took nearly another four decades – until 1960 – before women were allowed to vote no matter their ethnicity. That’s not so long ago, is it?

Should it be against the law not to vote?

Did you know that in some countries voting is mandatory?

According to an article published by pbs.org in 2014, it is compulsory for citizens to vote in elections in 22 countries. Some of these countries include Australia, Belgium, Egypt, Greece, Mexico, Singapore, and Thailand.

In Australia, negligence in not voting results in a small monetary fine. Other countries like Brazil have stronger penalties. For instance, non-voters might have difficulties obtaining government documents like a passport or other services provided by public offices. If someone fails to turn out to an election in Singapore, they will have their name removed from future electoral polls.

What do you think about compulsory voting? Is it a great thing, or a violation of freedom of speech?

Not voting is a still a vote of sorts

I don’t think people have the right to complain about our government unless they actually voted. Think of your non-vote as a vote for the party that bugs you the most.

It is an easy excuse to fall into the mentality of “my vote doesn’t matter” or there is “no one worth voting for”.

The truth? Your vote absolutely matters! When you don’t vote, you are essentially letting other people – who might have vastly different views – decide for you. I mean look at how many people think the youth should work for free. Do you want this guy determining your vote?

Educate yourself on the party’s platforms and vote for what you believe in on October 19th. Want to know where the three parties stand when it comes to immigration? Check out our recent blog post titled “Where Do the Three Parties Stand on Immigration”.

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