We have the Canadian Federal Election coming up on May 2nd, and I'd just like to speak for a moment to the non-voters and the people who love them.
If you don't support a Conservative Government, yet you're still not planning on voting - you should know that by not voting, you ARE actually supporting the Conservative party.
For those who don't know, the Conservatives use a strategy called "Vote Suppression" and it is very effective. I'm sure you have heard Stephen Harper refer to political debate as "bickering", and speak about how most people find politics off-putting, and other such comments. He routinely and purposely puts a negative spin on politics, government and the opposition leaders in order to disgust and disengage the citizenry – all while catering to and solidifying his Conservative base. Harper does not need to convince more people to vote Conservative, he just needs more non-Conservatives not to vote so that his party gets a bigger piece of the pie. It is a manipulative, powerful, and proven strategy. George Bush also used it to his advantage.
If you know anyone who is planning on not voting because they think "all the leaders suck" or they "hate politics", or “there is no one good to vote for” you may want to have a conversation with them about what their reasons are. It’s possible that they have fallen victim to Vote Suppression - although good luck finding anyone who will admit it, as no one likes to be made a fool. Nonetheless, it’s something that everyone should be aware of. It’s insidious and I think it deliberately attempts to undermine democracy and should be called out at every opportunity.
People fought and died for us to have the right to vote. If we do not maintain, protect, and exercise that right, we give away our power. We can’t expect to improve this country or to enjoy the perks of democracy without contributing to it - democracy requires our engagement in order to function. It can not exist without our voices giving input. So let's not allow Harper or anyone else to convince Canadians of the false ideology that our voices are ineffectual, and our candidates unworthy of listening to us.
If you still choose not to vote on May 2nd (or on advance voting days), don't use the invalid excuse that you don't want to take part in this election. By not voting you are still affecting the outcome, and it may not be in the way you prefer. So please, learn who your candidates are, make an active choice, and be engaged. It shows respect for oneself, for one’s community, and for those who went through hell to get every adult citizen access to the ballot box.