It’s almost time. The people of Alberta will be making some big decisions in the next week, deciding what direction we want our province to go in.
On April 16, it’s important that we utilize our right to vote and cast our provincial ballot for who we want to represent us as a province.
It’s a fundamental right that gives all citizens an opportunity to participate in our democratic society.
Considering the struggle many of us had to go through just to win the right to vote, it’s hard for me to fathom why we wouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity.
Women earned the right in 1916-17 while other minorities earned their right to vote throughout the next few decades. Only in 1982 did The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms embed into the Constitution that any Canadian citizen had the right to vote. That was only 37 years ago.
Over the past number of federal and provincial elections in Canada, the percentage of people voting has gone up. One of the lowest voter turnout in Alberta happened in 2008, with only 40.6 per cent of the population voting.
That means for those four years, a minority dictated the policies of a majority.
Young adults, aged 18-24, seem to be the ones who need the most encouragement to participate on election day.
In 2015, the participation of the younger generation jumped from 38 to 57 per cent; around an 18 per cent increase. This is definitely an improvement, but we can do better.
Voter participation in an election is important to the population as a whole because it provides people the opportunity to voice their opinion, vote for what they believe in and it holds elected officials accountable for their behaviour while in office.
Look at the bigger picture. In Alberta as of 2018, the population of young adults ages 18-24 is around 374,844. If we managed to increase the voting percentage up 10 per cent, that’s over 37,000 votes.
Voting allows us as citizens to express our opinion on issues and decisions that have a direct impact on our lives.
If you want a say in how we address important issues like climate change, education, healthcare and many others, you need to vote. This is your future we’re talking about here, you should have your say in what direction it goes.
How can you expect your beliefs to be defended by someone who may have opposing views? Cast your vote for the candidate who will stand up for you and your community.
By not voting, you’re essentially letting other people choose for you. They will decide how you live your life. They will affect your healthcare system, your financials, the education system your kids are a part of; don’t let them take your rights away from you.
The right to vote is something many have squandered in the past, but we can’t let that happen again. It’s an important part our society and helping us grow in a positive direction.
Saying you just didn’t want to isn’t an excuse.
Be mindful of who you vote for; do your research. Understand that a vote for any specific candidate is also a vote for their leader. If you don’t, if for some reason you decide it’s not worth it, you’ll have only yourself to blame if you don’t like the outcome.