Voting in Canada

I’ve never really been a fan of voting, and so I fully understand if you are not. I incline a lot stronger to not voting than I do to voting. However, this year I’ve found myself a lot more caught up in the politics of everything. Rachel found this amazing summary of all the parties, Green, Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Bloc Quebecois and their stances on different issues for an easy to read quick idea of what you would be voting for if you did vote.

I think if I had something like this in previous elections, it would at least make it easier to vote.

Click here to see the Comparison Charts.

8 Comments

  • james, i think how much i believe in the system certainly should dictate how much i participate in it or not, this has nothing to do with if it exists or not but rather if i believe in the values that it holds.

    but you are right, how should i choose to interact with the system is a perfect question to ask. but why can’t my interaction with it be to abstain from voting in a party that in my opinion all are serving their own selfish interests.

    I’m far from saying don’t do anything at all, in fact I would lean to say that purposefully not voting is in fact doing something. Of course we need to do something, I’m just not convinced voting is always the right option.

  • Ok, you are right in what you say James, and I’m not trying to separate the two and say they never interact or that its good or bad to vote, but I just don’t see trying to vote my preferable political party into government as really facing into systems of power.

    In a way, it feels like voting is feeding into a system that I don’t believe in at all…do you not get that sense at all? I am not opposed to participating and trying to make my vote be intelligent and the such, however I can’t bring myself to really believe in any organization in this type of system.

  • I think the degree to which “I believe in the system” or not is ultimately irrelevant, since the system exists regardless of what I think about. (What percentage of people, past and present, have ever actually had a voice in the structure of their governance? An astronomically small percentage.)

    Since the system is in place, the question is: how do I choose to interact with it? I pay a governing body of individuals (out of my own paycheque) to oversee the infrastructure and organization of the country I live in. They ask ME to participate in the selection process of leadership. Since I believe my life, the lives of my neighbours, and the country we live in are all ultimately interconnected realities, I decide (personally) that participation in the voting system is an act of civil responsibility, respecting all these interdependent systems and their relationships to each other.

    If you didn’t believe in the system at all, you wouldn’t pay your taxes. As it is, I’m assuming that you do pay your taxes and by doing so affirm that there is indeed something that belongs to Caesar. I agree that democracy does not have a moral advantage on any other system, but again that’s irrelevant: it’s the empire you and I live in, and all empires require sacrifices from its members.

    Voting is not a matter of believing in the system; it’s a matter of personal responsibility because I am a part of the system whether I like or not.

    Responsibility might also mean, I suppose, challenging the system, potentially overthrowing it, or reforming it; but passivity in not doing anything at all (including voting) is simply to say that I don’t care about the decisions that impact this population at all.

  • Precisely. Politics has followed the curve of commercial media: it’s about the sale, the product, the promise. To survive in our society, we naturally need to block out and be highly critical of the commercials we are inundated with even on an hourly basis… so no wonder people are disillusioned with politics, for it chooses the same route. At the same time, if one compares the debates and discourse of even a century ago, one realizes that there was far more discussion about issues and policies; and far more eloquently concise intercourse as well.

    The real scary thing is: what if this is all that we as society are actually capable of? What if we have been so dumb-down by our RSS liners, soundbites and 30-second commercials that our brains cannot handle anything less than the facade of soundbite democracy anymore?

  • that is scary. and your probably right.
    Which is why in the end voting to me isn’t that big of a deal, after all we are called to live as part of a different kingdom with different rules that will probably never be voted into our government.

  • Hmmm…I guess here I disagree. It seems like a rather arbitrarily dualistic divide to say that voting in an election is not (or cannot) be a kingdom-oriented activity.

    If I, striving to live the kingdom of God, seek ways to make my neighborhood a safer, more welcoming place, I am being political. Likewise, if the families on my street decided to, say, protest the clear-cutting of a local forest, we would be enacting a very political movement.

    It seems to me to be profoundly subjective to say that my involvement with federal politics is of a different shape entirely. How can we say one set of “political” activity is shaped by our faith and split that from another set of political activity which we say is alienated from these kingdom values?

    The kingdom of God is a meta-kingdom that directly shapes the way I interact with every other kingdom of the world. It does not mean I pretend like the kingdoms of the world do not have real, immediate and highly consequential influences in the lives or real people. Clearly they do, so my involvement with them is in fact driven by my commitment to the values of God’s kingdom.

    Voting, I think, is an act of love: if given the opportunity to shape federal policies, how can my voice most coherently speak for the real, physical needs of my neighborhood, friends, planet, etc?

    Simply, everything is spiritual–including citizenship in a physical, geographical country.

  • Maybe I’m an idealist, but did not our governance and politics emerge from rhetoric and discourse? The process (democratic or otherwise) for the installment of leadership (especially at a federal level) was birthed in debate: argument, rebuttal, counter point. Now, of course, politics is mud-slinging and publicity management (a natural turn off, I agree), but it seems to me that syndicating party platforms into one paragraph overviews only does more to make the whole thing more superficial than it already is. Discourse takes time, energy. Voting should not be thought of as ordering something off a menu of promises (the sad state of democracy today), but embraced as the result of investment and involvement with nuances of the candidates themselves.

    PEOPLE are going to be elected to oversee the country here; not little paragraphs from a website summary.

  • While I agree with you James, sadly people usually don’t have anything to make their stance on why they are voting for someone, so this at least puts the parties platform out there for the world to see.

    While I would like to meet each canditate in person, have a lunch with them and base my vote on something deeper than one sentance promises, do we really have anything else to go on?

    I did watch the debate the other night, and I did love it, I thought it was great all the conversation and lack of it, however its very easy to get lost in it. So while discourse should be the aim and hopefully summaries don’t cancel it out I also hope that summaries don’t get cancelled out because we are all too busy talking to each other and debating for any concrete answers and promises from a party.

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