Your vote makes a difference

Next Tuesday, as Canadians, we will choose who will govern us for the next few years and how that government will be shaped.
For the past 30 months, the Conservatives under Stephen Harper have governed with a minority of
members. Prior to that, the Liberal party under the leadership of Paul Martin governed with a minority
for 18 months.
From September, 1984 through to December, 2004, first Brian Mulroney and then Jean Chrétien led the country with majority governments.
Governing the nation from a minority position is much different than governing from a majority one. A leader in a minority government must make accommodations with the other parties to see legislation passed. Failure to do so will result in much more frequent elections as the government falls
due to a lack of confidence from the House.
In the last election, fewer than 65 percent of Canadians cast ballots. It is a number that indicates more than one-third of Canadians have no confidence in any party. It also is an indication that many feel that nothing will change regardless of who is elected.
From a high of 75.3 percent in 1988 to a low of 64.7 percent in the last federal election, the numbers show Canadians are poor at exercising our right. Generation ‘Y’ and youths aged 18-24 have the
poorest voting records, choosing to stay away from the polls.
Their parents and grandparents are the most loyal voters. Historically, Canadians prior to 1980 had average voter turnouts exceeding 75 percent.
Australia requires everyone to vote. In the election there earlier this year, more than 95 percent of
the citizens cast their ballot. The electorate really does choose their government.
In Australia, law mandates voting. Failure to vote creates penalties. Creating a government comes down to 308 separate elections across Canada. In our country, traditionally the party with the most
seats forms the government. In other countries, with many political parties, the government often is sewn together as a coalition.
As Canadians, we vote for our own reasons. Some people vote for a candidate in their riding while others will vote for a party. There are no right answers in choosing how we will vote. When we cast our ballot, we deliver several messages. We evaluate the sitting member and pass judgment on whether or not they have represented our riding well in Ottawa. We pass judgment on the national parties through their local representatives. We may affirm that the local candidate has performed well for the riding and re-elect that person.
We may determine the governing party has lost contact with voters and their needs, and choose to change the government by electing a local candidate who represents the party we feel should be governing Canada.
Within Thunder Bay-Rainy River riding, we have four very good candidates vying for the seat. Each in debate and before the people has shown they are articulate and concerned about the riding, its
people, and issues.
Our four candidates come from varied backgrounds. They each bring different strengths.
Our candidates deserve better than a 65 percent turnout at the polls. Even going to the polls and
declining to vote is still casting a ballot.
On Tuesday, I ask you to cast your ballot. It will make a difference.

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