News + Politics

May 2, 2011

Hey fellow Gaynadians, did you hear that today is election day?


Dear fellow Gaynadians,

Today is election day and I really, really would like you to vote, so I am writing this thing to help you make a decision and give you more information just incase you forgot/don’t care.

This might possibly be the most exciting Canadian election I have ever really witnessed. I have been out of the country for almost every federal election since I could legally vote, and like many of you, often follow American reality teevee – I mean, “politics” – more than our own.

Despite Stephen Harper’s claim that Canadians didn’t want this election, Canadians seems to be pretty darn excited about it, and might, just might get out and vote in record numbers, not unlike in the American election of 2008 when there was actually candidates that excited young people.

The interest from young people has been astonishing, but many think that it might not translate into actual votes. All of the youth action began when Rick Mercer delivered this rant:

Rick’s rant was followed by these crazy freaking awesome vote mobs on campuses around the country, like this one in Montreal:

Overwhelmingly the youth voice has been clear though: Anyone but Harper.

However, I’m not here to tell you how to vote, just to get you to vote. PERIOD.

Stephen Harper, the Conservative incumbent from Calgary is aiming to gain a majority government as he has been elected in the previous three elections with only a minority vote. It is still unclear and unlikely that he will get this majority – and let e be clear, I do think a majority government would best serve Canadians, but you know collations seems to be working elsewhere in the world, just saying. The fact that he will not win a majority, AGAIN, is not really surprising anyone. The big surprise of this campaign is who the potential opposition party might be. For about the entire history of our country, like so FOREVER, even though we have a multi-party system, we have had really only two parties ever in power: The Liberal Party of Canada and the Progressive Conservative Party (in different incarnations and coalitions). The biggest thing that I have learned from this election campaign is how sorely we need electoral reform, and how our “multi-party” system has degenerated into a two-party system that is rarely if ever representative of the people’s real political leanings/desires/feelings.

This election cycle has also been hugely influenced by social media, and youtube videos have played an essential part. This is by far, my favourite non-partisan video that really hits home the problem with our current political system. I went to the polls this morning, and happily voted, but sadly, I don’t feel like I voted for my favourite candidate, but rather the one I thought I disliked least who also had a chance of winning. Is that democracy?

Pretty effing crazy right? I have been nail-biting for days trying to figure out how to swing this one, because I didn’t want to do just what the video says: split the vote between the two candidates I most like and end up with the one I like the least. Grrrr.

I am going to preface the next part with this: I hate polls. I think they should be illegal and I really, really wish that I didn’t listen to them. I think that polls interfere in our democratic system, because we all start voting based on what the polls say. Well , as this Globe and Mail article states: “you can’t take a poll and put it in the ballot box”. Michael Ignatieff among other leaders have reminded people recently to not pay attention to the polls as they can be misleading. Of course, in the case of Ignatieff, who is trailing in third in the polls, would say that since his standing is pushing liberals to other camps out of fear. WTF? I hate that fear is making us vote for candidates who are not our first choice and I think that is partly due to polls. What do think? Should polls be allowed? Are you affected by them? Do they totally SUCK?

Anyways, the latest polls suggests Harper has 37.1% support and Layton has 31.6%. Those are some close numbers. But we really don’t know if Layton’s surge, especially in Quebec, will be mirrored in ballots cast. I don’t think Ignatieff is out of the race yet. This, I feel is a pretty unpredictable election, with lots of minds not even made up yet.

I do apologize for only writing about the three federalist parties, but they are the only parties with a chance of winning, well, federally, obviously. You should go to the Apathy is Boring site to read about the party platforms in greater detail because they have all the information really clearly displayed, and you can see where parties sit on almost every issue imaginable including where they sit on issues close the hearts of Gaynadians.

This is all to say that I GET IT. Elections can be sometimes boring, sometimes infuriating, sometimes disappointing, and the whole process sometimes feels useless, corrupt, and pointless. But, it is also to say that we have witnessed a CRAZY ASS surge of people in this world dying for the opportunity to do what you have the right to do, and what you can do freely and easily. We have the right to leave work to vote. We have one of the best election systems in the entire world. People are freaking jealous of us. Your vote matters, regardless of who you vote for. As a woman, particularly, I feel like some people risked their lives and their reputations in order for me to have this right, and I take it very seriously. (GAWD. I’m crying.) Please go vote, please have a voice, please be proud to be part of the country regardless of how stinky the system might sometimes be.

Not sure where to vote? How to vote? When to vote? You only have a few more hours, but no mater what, you CAN VOTE. Even if you don’t have ID or something with your address, there are people at the polling stations that can help. It literally took me less than a minute this morning from start to finish. There are no excuses! Get more details on the Elections Canada website here and if you are planning to vote strategically, check out the site for Project Democracy.

So tell me what you think? TELL ME YOUR FEELINGS! Let’s talk it out.



About the Author

|Executive Editor & Co-Founder| A mostly hippy and always hungry cultural critic, closeted pop-culture lover, and food know-it-all. Half cowgirl, half Ivy leaguer. You will find me writing on the crazy sh*t that happens on my teevee, feminism, philanthropy, religion and politics. I like singing shows, high-waisted skirts, scotch, two-stepping, and all forms of breakfast foods (sweet AND salty).



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  1. Ty

    Wow, very well thought out and well worded post Erika.



  2. […] On May 2nd 2011, many of us at The Gaily gathered around a small tv, in a small apartment, with fuzzy reception, listening to the familiar voices and the familiar faces of the CBC, as the orange wave overtook this province where many of us live as foreigners to the political system, where federalism, and a federalist candidate never seemed possible, and where Quebeckers of all stripes took pride and took a chance in a man with a moustache, a man with a vision for Canada and for our generation. […]

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