One infamous gangster once said, “Vote early and vote often”. As I studied our parliamentary system and saw the one past the post system for what it was, especially so when it came to actually representing the wishes of the electorate, I was both disgusted and disturbed, that a national party may actually win a majority and still have over 60% of the people of the country opposed to their party and platform, and have no voice in Parliament. The system was flawed from its inception when Canada was confederated in 1867, and we have muddled our way through national elections ever since. When Capone said to “vote early and vote often”, that really resonated in my heart because the only way the current system would work was to do that very thing! I cam to the conclusion that Canada needed electoral reform from the top down, and needed more participatory engagement with voters when the parliament was in session. Over the years I became an increasingly disillusioned with the political system, and the political process, to the point I began to display my displeasure by going to all the trouble of registering to vote and going to the polling station for the early ballot and going and declining my ballot. I wanted to voice my discontent for the electoral system and I did.
The last time I voted in a Federal election in Canada was in 1993, when the Habs last won the Stanley Cup against the LA Kings, when my eldest daughter passed away from a seven year battle with cancer, and the Progressive Conservatives (PC) were the party of the centre right, and not the current Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). I pinched my nose and voted for the PC party, as I would never vote Liberal or NDP. I did once vote for the Rhinoceros Party of Canada, in my university days, when my disillusion with Canadian politics began to bloom and my distaste for the system had pushed me over the edge. I voted Rhino Party because their job creation platform included razing the Rocky Mountains, and moving all the rocks by rail through prairies, and dumping all the rock on Newfoundland. Yes, I was that disillusioned.
That is, until now.
The current system does not work and has truly never worked for Canadian citizens. We effectively elect members of parliament (MPs) for five years. We now have mandatory elections on a given day every five years. That is at least one reform that was needed and we now have. The problem for the voter is that you are pandered to for your vote in order to get elected and then you are essentially cast off until the next election. By and large Canadians want to be more involved in an ongoing participatory electoral system, where constituents can recall an MP and hold them to account for their voting or lack of a voting record in Parliament. Canadians also want to see the Senate reformed, as well as MP and Senator recall, as well and term limits for all concerned.
The system cannot change without using the current one to elect the party that will usher in change
If we learned anything from the recent Alberta Provincial election is that when people are fed up and want change, they are going to vote for parties that both promise the change and will send a clear message the traditional parties they have voted for in the past. People responded to the Alberta NDP who would never have voted for them in the past. The party got a majority mandate to bring about change and it shocked the province elites and the business community and financial sector, but the people won out and now the NDP are moving progressively and cautiously forward, showing everyone concerned that they have nothing to fear, the NDP are going to govern as they promised to govern. Over time we will see how well the NDP win over not only the people who voted for other parties but also big business and the financial sector. It is a work in progress, and nationally we have to think in the same way.
Progress takes work, and takes patience, and communication and openness, even with those who may oppose our vision.
I know people who have been very dissatisfied with the political system and electoral process in this country. They are dissatisfied, and many are dissatisfied to actually register to vote this time and actually go out and vote. I believe we will see many first time voters, and also many returning voters who have stayed away for a prolonged period of time, and I count myself as one of the latter.
Making sure you are registered
Here is what you need to do. Go to the site of Elections Canada. On the right you will find a dialog box for your postal code. Type it in and hit the “Go” button. This will take you to your electoral district and will have the election date and the advance polling dates for this election. Also on the page are FAQ’s that will address the elector information, such as verifying that you are registered to vote, information on the election, and where the local Elections Canada office is located, as well as the voting process and who the candidates are in your riding, and even list employment opportunities as a poll worker.
This page will also provide the information you need such as ID you need to vote, ways to vote, and a primer for first time voters, as well as accessible voting, and FAQs. You can also sign up for updates at the bottom of the page. Your three options to prove your identity are presenting one of these pieces of ID, your driver’s license, your provincial or territorial ID card, or another other government card with your photo, name and current address.
Secondly, you can show two pieces of ID, with at least one with your current address, health card, Canadian passport, birth certificate, Certificate of Canadian Citizenship, citizenship card, social insurance card, Indian status card, band membership card, Metis card, card issued by an Inuit local authority, Canadian Forces identity card, Veterans Affairs health card, old age security card, hospital card, medical clinic card, label on a prescription container, identity bracelet issued by a hospital or long-term care facility, blood donor card, CNIB card, credit card, debit card, employee card, student identity card, public transportation card, library card, liquor identity card, parolee card, firearms licence, licence or card issued for fishing, trapping or hunting, utility bill (electricity, water, telecommunications services including telephone, cable or satellite), bank statement, credit union statement, credit card statement, personal cheque, government statement of benefits, government cheque or cheque stub, pension plan statement, residential lease or sub-lease, mortgage contract or statement, property tax assessment, vehicle ownership, insurance certificate, policy or statement, correspondence issued by a school, college or university, letter from a public curator, public guardian or public trustee, targeted revision from Elections Canada to residents of long term care facilities, letter of confirmation of residence from a First Nations band or reserve or an Inuit local authority, letter of confirmation of residence from one of the following designated establishments: student residence, senior’s residence, long-term care facility, shelter, soup kitchen. They even accept e-statements and e-invoices. Print them or show them on a mobile device.
Thirdly, if your ID does not have your current address, you can take an oath. Show two pieces of ID with your name and have someone who knows you attest to your address. This person must show proof of identity and address, be registered in the same polling division, and attest for only one person.
Other important information about ID to remember:
- Your voter information card is not a piece of ID.
- Elections Canada accepts pieces of ID in their original format. If your document was issued electronically, such as an e-statement or e-invoice, you should being a printout or show it on a mobile device.
- Elections Canada accepts pieces of DI from the same source if the documents service if the documents serve different purposes, such as an invoice and a transcript from the same school.
- Your name and address must be printed on the ID.
- Elections Canada will accept expired ID, as long as it has your name and current address.
- The pieces of ID listed above are authorized by the Chief Electoral Office. No other pieces of ID will be accepted.
- The pieces o ID required for a federal election are not the same as for the provincial, territorial or municipal elections.
Please note there is a section after this dialog on ID on FAQs pertaining to ID for elections. It is a well put together section of the site. There is even information for those who are homeless and how they can present themselves so they can vote.
On this same page there is the Online Voter Registration Service where you can check if you are registered to vote, and you can update your address on your voter registration as well as register as a first time voter. This is the place for you if you have never registered to vote. You can verify your name as being on the list by progressing through a couple of screens answering a few questions. They will verify if you are a registered voter and if not they will indicate what you will need to do to become a registered voter. It was easy and hassle free. It is well worth your while to verify your registration through this process.
Once you have become registered, become informed about the issues of the election
I am a Christian and I make no bones or apologies for that. The party that I vote for will reflect the values and beliefs that define my life, or as close as possible reflects those beliefs. People always speak about choices and the power of choice in a democracy. Every person, without regard to race, colour, gender or creed, who is a citizen has the right to vote and express their choice on the ballot on election day. So how does one do so?
As a Christian I am faced by choices like everyone else, and I am also faced with how I make that choice, how I discern and come to a conclusion about the party that I believe best represents my beliefs and values, and also the best direction for the country. I find it ironic that all the major parties in this country were founded by deeply religious/spiritual men, and yet these parties have reduced faith to a “personal matter” that should not affect the politics and governance of the country. I have often been the most frustrated and agitated by those national leaders that say they have a faith they believe and adhere to, but their political beliefs, party platforms do not reflect those beliefs. As such I have been rather dismissive of those parties, until now.
What we are faced with as a nation and what you and I can do about it
Our nation continues to face the international pressures of the unwinnable “war on terror” and this war and how the current CPC (Conservative Party of Canada) government is waging this war overseas and on the home front, bringing into law the controversial and undermining of our rights and freedoms law, Bill C-51. This same government has not done well in governance, suppressing the voices of MPs in the House of Parliament, and proroguing Parliament, being censured by Parliament (first time in history), as well are the recent Senate Scandal, with the Duffy trial revealing much by the day through the media, just how badly the PM and PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) has tried to subvert and control the Senate and how this country is governed. On the job front, the current government has not done well either. Neither has it done well in health care, and care for seniors and Veterans. The list grows on and on.
Our democratic system has not helped the situation, and in fact I would argue that it has enabled this kind of dystopia and dysfunctional governance has this current CPC government which abuses its powers and shreds our constitutional rights and freedoms. It is time for change and accountability. It is time for the electorate to take back the country from these power brokers.
My belief driving my decision to vote for the first time since 1993, is that the only party that can actually bring about the electoral change we need to change not only how we vote but actually how we govern ourselves in a participatory democracy, is the New Democratic Party (NDP). The NDP have held to a belief and and view of proportional representation that would change and transform politics in this nation. I want to see that change, and this change will set off in motion a transformation in how governance works in this country, and makes it possible for more parties, more candidates, a fairer representation of the population in the House of Parliament, a good form of governance by the people for the people, voted by the majority of the people, and not just a one past the post majority. THIS is the reason I am voting.
As a Christian, most parties don’t reflect my core values and beliefs. I am “consistently pro-life” in my ethical and political views. My beliefs affect my ethics and my ethics affect who I vote for in elections. Accountability, integrity, and responsibility are core ethical beliefs that most parties have, but they only go so far. The system that will best take into account these beliefs and values is proportional representation.
Being consistently pro-life for me means, that not only am I pro-life when it comes to reproductive rights (opposed to abortion), but also against the death penalty, and for the eradication of child poverty, against human trafficking, affordable government protected health care, affordable university and college education, protects the elderly, and protects social welfare and assistance, as well as retirement benefits, against war, but for the protection of the environment and for sustainable development. Consistent pro-life encompasses all those beliefs and values that protect and promote life, wholeness and well being, protects citizens and immigrants and refugees, and enhances living a good and productive life in our nation.
So, like you I am looking for the party that will best reflect the above values. That means it will have to be the one party that can start the process of changing how we are governed. That to me is the NDP.
- Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada
- Bloc Québécois
- Canadian Action Party
- Christian Heritage Party of Canada
- Communist Party of Canada
- Conservative Party of Canada
- Forces et Démocratie
- Green Party of Canada
- Liberal Party of Canada
- Libertarian Party of Canada
- Marijuana Party
- Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada
- New Democratic Party
- Party for Accountability, Competency and Transparency
- Pirate Party of Canada
- Progressive Canadian Party
- Rhinoceros Party
- The Bridge Party of Canada
- United Party of Canada
- Register to vote
- Become informed on the issues facing the nation
- Determine what issues matter most to you and the party that best reflects those views
- Examine all the party platforms and the leaders and what they have to say
- Find out who the local candidates are and what they are saying about the issues facing your own riding and constituency
- Decide who you will be voting for and why
- Go and vote, either at the early poll on on voting day.
- YOU have a voice and a choice.
- YOU WILL make a difference in 2015
Elections Canada Home Page: http://www.elections.ca/home.aspx
FAQs on Registration: http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=vot&dir=faq&document=faqreg&lang=e
Resource Centre for Canadian Voters: http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=res&document=index&lang=e
Description of The National Register of Electors: http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=vot&dir=reg/des&document=index&lang=e
Voter Registration: http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=vot&dir=reg&document=index&lang=e
Online Voter Registration Service: https://ereg.elections.ca/CWelcome.aspx?lang=e
Voter Registration Mailings: http://www.elections.ca/fast
Registration and Voting Processes for Canadians Who Live Abroad: