Please don’t pass on democracy

Today is election day—and we have two very important decisions to make.
The first is to determine who will represent us at Queen’s Park. In both the Rainy River Record and Fort Frances Times, we have carried the profiles of the four candidates and have written their views on a variety of topics covered in last week’s debate here.
The choices are clear between the candidates.
The paramount question remains, “Who will best represent us in the legislature at Toronto?” Who of the candidates best understands the needs of the people of Kenora-Rainy River.
The second important question that voters must take action on today is the question of how elections will take place in the future.
We are being offered a choice: “First Past the Post” (our current system) or a new system that will include both a “First Past the Post” election and then the appointment of people to reflect the proportion of votes each party receives in the election.
The latter system currently is used in New Zealand.
If we look at the historical results of Ontario elections, with the potential new system, the last time an Ontario political party would have formed a majority would date back to Leslie Frost in the early 1950s.
Every other election in the past 50 years would have ended in a minority and coalitions would have been necessary to govern. Even the party with the most seats may not have been asked to form the government.
It may appear there is a landslide for the incumbent, Howard Hampton, if lawn signs are to be believed. However, that is not the reason to avoid going out and voting.
Other candidates also have expressed their views on topics and issues. Whoever is elected will have to take into consideration the concerns of all voters and not just those of the winning party.
Everyone wins when we vote because with everyone speaking, whoever represents us, will have a clear understanding of the needs of the different voices that they represent.
We live in a country where we get to choose who will govern us and how we will be governed. In the last two weeks, we have witnessed disturbing scenes coming from Myanmar (formerly Burma), where Buddhist monks and the people have taken to the streets to demand a more democratic form of government—only to be beaten, imprisoned, or killed.
They want a system we take for granted.
This election we get to choose how we will be governed in the future. That is an important decision. We also get the chance to tell the legislature of our concerns about our area of the province.
If you have not voted when you read this, you still have time to get to the polls and cast your ballot. You get to be heard—something hundreds of millions of people around the world are denied.
You still can help determine how we will be governed in the future.
Please don’t pass on democracy.

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