Elections, Voting and You #I’mVoting

Written by Renmart Buhay, a Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology student. His interests lie in connecting nature, mental health and youth.

As you may know, the federal election is coming up next month on October 19th. I feel that it’s more important than ever to vote, especially since my peers in the 18 - 24 age group's past voter turnout have been disappointing. With just under three million young Canadians under the age of 24 eligible to vote this election, we truly can make a difference. Whatever opinions you have about the political system or whether your single vote matters, it is important that you vote. So to university students and young adults eligible to vote, this blog post is for you.

So why should you care?

The upcoming election is critical to all Canadians because the results and direction of the people in power will have drastic effects on Canada’s social, economic and environmental future. The political leaders we vote in to power must be held accountable to making the right decisions regarding climate change, environmental policies, health care, affordable housing and many other issues affecting Canadians. I firmly believe that sustainability should be at the core when making political decisions that affect our economy and citizens. For this reason I am voting because I want change; I am voting for climate and environmental action.

By voting, it shows society what you value and want for the future of Canada. That I feel does make a difference. We have an important obligation as citizens and community members to vote. If you are part of a larger system like a university, parks and community centres, workplace or volunteer organizations, then this election will affect you. For those of you who feel that you are not impacted in anyway by the government and politics, think about this: somewhere or someone you know or don’t know is being affected by the decisions and policies made by our government. The consequences of this election go well beyond us. This is about people, communities, the environment and the future of Canada. If at the very least you appreciate community, by voting, you are simultaneously affecting change in the lives of your fellow citizens.

We all should do our part in the upcoming election to fight political apathy and disengagement. I encourage you to reach out to your family and friends who are hesitant to vote this election. Go out of your way and have a meaningful conversation with them about this topic. Having meaningful face to face dialogue about voting within our communities is the most effective way to encourage people to vote. But most importantly, we must do our part to educate ourselves and be prepared when voting.

For those of you who choose not to vote because you distrust the political system I ask you this: what does not voting actually accomplish?

Your vote is your leverage as a citizen to support the party you want in power. But when you choose to not vote in the election, you’re essentially giving up that power. You won’t have what the parties are after so they’ll stop paying attention to you and the issues you care about.

Lastly I’ll say this, every four years you gain the privilege and power to vote. Use your vote to represent yourself, support the people you believe in, and practise democracy. Don’t think that a vote for a party who doesn’t win doesn’t matter. Be true to your values and beliefs, and pick the best candidate for you. So please make sure you’re eligible and registered to vote: https://ereg.elections.ca/CWelcome.aspx  

SFU students, let’s all vote on Election Day! Let your voice be heard and know that your vote is a meaningful and tangible way to affect change!

Happy voting from the Embark Sustainability blogging team!

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