Note: This is a political post. I have tried to make this post as non-partisan as possible. Full disclosure: I volunteer with the Liberal Party of Canada.
Are you sick of this federal election yet?
It’s finally here: Election Day! The campaign was officially 78 days. To put it in perspective: I was wearing t-shirts and sandals in the sun when this started, and I wore a winter coat today.
This election felt more important than past ones to me. Maybe because I’m older, I pay more taxes, and I decided to make Canada my home for the long-term. But I think it’s more than that.
I haven’t been proud of where this country is headed in a long time. On many of the issues that are defining our generation – climate change, managing an aging population, dealing with growing cities, and showing up productively in the world – there is definitely room for improvement.
So this election campaign, I’ve followed the parties, the leaders, and the policies closely. For the first time, I volunteered with a political party. I watched most of the debates. I listened to the political analysts almost daily (another disclosure: mostly the CBC).
What I saw on the ground
I spent a few days in this campaign going door-to-door canvassing.
I know, everyone hates those people who knock on your door interrupting dinner. But, after being on the other side – boy, it’s a tough slog! It’s a good way to get exercise though.
I enjoyed talking to people in my riding about the issues. The topics ranged from the economy, deficit spending, bill C–51, the Syrian refugee crisis, transit, and more.
It’s fun, and a bit stressful, because you never quite know what you’re going to get. Some people slammed the door. Once, I woke up a baby (I felt really bad about that). I helped get a dog back who escaped when the door opened. Some people asked thoughtful questions because they are still deciding. A few didn’t even know there was an election coming up.
I got a new appreciation for the diverse community I live in. People of all ages and walks of life live here. It’s also, as Adam Vaughan quipped once, ’the tallest riding in Canada.’ Fun fact: there are more 40+ story buildings in this riding than all of Canada combined!
Making personal connections, as slow and hard as it is, is still one of the best ways to get the word out about democracy and the importance of voting. I’m glad I participated this time around, and will likely do it again.
What did a long campaign give us?
A long campaign should give people time to understand the issues that matter in this country.
To some extent, that happened. There were issues talked about in this election that haven’t made it into the headlines before. Immigration, international trade, PMO corruption, and identity issues were all discussed in this campaign.
However, some issues still got too little attention in my opinion. Healthcare, climate change, and First Nations priorities, to name a few.
All the parties try to ‘keep it real’ by discussing topics that impact people everyday. The economy, childcare, tax changes for the middle class are important for sure, but it feels so narrow-minded in my opinion. Especially, when a leader resorts to game-show techniques!
Sometimes it feels like things get dumbed down too much. I want to hear about a leader’s vision for Canada. I want to know what kind of country we’re trying to create. I want to understand the specific goals that will be set for this country.
I know…it’s a lot to ask for. Maybe next time!?
So, what are you waiting for…go vote!
If you’re Canadian, and haven’t found the time to vote yet…go do it!