Exercise Your Right to Make Change

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BY: BRITTNEY CHANNER

On June 7th, 2018, the province of Ontario will be conducting its 42nd general election. The goal of this election is to elect 124 members into the Parliament of Ontario with hopes of one of the parties achieving a majority government. The top political parties being represented within this provincial election are: the Liberal party; with Kathleen Wynne as its leader, Progressive Conservative Party; with Doug Ford as its newly elected leader and the New Democratic Party (NDP) with Andrea Horwath representing as their leader. Each party has particular standpoints pertaining to taxes, education, transit, and health care; and it is these standpoints that essentially persuade the citizens of Ontario to vote for their ideal candidate; who represents similar viewpoints.

Nevertheless, as important as the categories listed above are, it leads me to question, “Where do our Canadian political parties stand on issues pertaining to human rights and justice? Issues such as health inequality, Aboriginal rights, gender and economic inequality and poverty; all of which are subjects that remain a constant reality for millions of Canadians within the province of Ontario and amongst the nation. Topics such as these are rarely seen at the forefront of any political party campaign nor are they regularly debated and analyzed within a political setting. Due to this aspect, along with several others, many people choose not to exercise their right listed in section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which deals with the right to vote. For many people, the reasoning behind their decision not to vote stems from the notion of not being heard, their vote not making a difference, feeling ignored when it comes to issues that concern them or the idea of feeling used solely to obtain a vote; only to be ignored after an election.

Whatever the reasoning might be, it is understandable why many citizens of Ontario feel this way and agree with this type of thinking; especially those who live in communities who do not get special attention until it is votingseason. Nevertheless, it is through utilizing this unique right as a Canadian citizen, where you can truly make and see the change desired within Parliament. Utilizing your power by voting allows you to choose a candidate or political party that aligns with your belief system and most importantly ensures that your concerns regarding your community and country are heard. When you make the decision to vote, you are making a choice that can have a direct impact or effect on your lives and the lives of your family. Additionally, those who are elected to Parliament are well aware of who votes and what communities have large voter turn out rates. So, if your residential neighbourhood voter turnout is low, these elected officials will make fewer appearances in your district to know what your concerns are and the needs of the community overall.

With recent cries of injustice and major attention to vital social issues, it is pertinent that we as Canadian citizens use one of the main forms of power we have and vote for a party who will not only tackle frequently debated and popularized issues such as taxes and healthcare, but to put hidden and ignored issues such as the quality of low income housing, youth homelessness, and poverty on the forefront of all political agendas. At the moment, the Ontario NDP’s and PC’s appear to be running a very close race in the polls which shows a significant departure in support for the Liberal party which has been in power for four consecutive general elections. However, whichever way the results of this election goes, I urge you all as Canadians to make a decision on your behalf and advise the people in power on the issues that matter the most to you.

Remember: If YOU do not vote; OTHERS will make the decisions for you.

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