Before you read this, please note that this is NOT an attack on people who have been pushing others to vote, people of any particular political affiliation (except the Green Party… boo trees!), or anything like that. I want you and I to be friends, peace on earth, free and fair elections, and all that crap. But I also feel like ranting about the elections. And because I voted, I apparently have that right (worst argument ever).
Election time in Canada + social media/networks/nobodyhashumanfriendsanymore = barrage of Canadians declaring their intent to vote/hatred of the current PM/breakfast choice online. That’s all well and good, but there are a few things that confuse me.
1) People keep being all “if you don’t vote I’m going to take away your citizenship and blame you for all that goes wrong in the future” (plus or minus the implied anger), but I wonder how many of these people actually know much about Canada. I know I sound arrogant in saying this, but two or three years ago the National Post did a poll of university students, testing them on their knowledge of Canadian politics/history/geography. The average score was something like 7/20. After reading that I asked one of my then-housemates what the capital of Saskatchewan is and she said “Manitoba… I mean Winnipeg!”
I think that people should have to take this test before they are allowed to vote or at least before they get angry at other people for not voting. Seriously – if you don’t know the capitals of the provinces, how informed are you on election issues and candidates? I’m not saying that I scored perfect, but at least I know that Canada was founded by vikings in 1756. I mean 1856. I mean founded by eskimos. I mean maple syrup. Please don’t take my citizenship away.
2) I also hear this “60% of Canadians DON’T want Harper so why is he in power?!” That’s fine, but also note that 60% of Canadians don’t want Ignatieff and 60% of Canadians don’t want Layton, etc. That’s what happens when three dominant parties emerge. I don’t really understand the argument here.
3) This morning it took me 50 minutes to figure out where to vote. I went to one school where I thought I could vote and wound up in the principal’s office. When I found the actual voting station, they told me that I couldn’t vote there because I “lived on the other side”. I thought they were hating on non-native Vancouverites and started to threaten them. Then I found out that I, in fact, needed to go to the voting station on the other side of the street. I was so frustrated that instead of filling out the ballot correctly, I wrote a long letter reflecting on my experience on the ballot in hopes that Ignatieff/Harper/Layton/that French guy will read it (they see the ballots, right?). Some people weren’t meant to participate in democracy.
4) Is anyone else more interested in the voter turnout number than they are in the actual election results? Does my apathy make me a bad Canadian?
5) Remember when Jean Chretien got pied?
6) Obviously point 1 is a joke. Everyone has the right to vote and shouldn’t have to justify it with his/her knowledge of Canada. Points 2-5 are also jokes, with the exception of point 3. That happened.