International affairs is, and probably always will be, my one true love. But back in 2007 I made the discovery (in a sadly unpleasant fashion) that municipal politics play a very important part – if not always directly and continuously apparent – in one’s life. So I decided to study up in the way I was accustomed to in international politics: I dived into the blogging world and comments boards.
4 years later, I am certainly much better informed – I truly feel debate is the most engaging and stimulating way to learn about a subject. That said, I would say there is still a long way to go in terms of the back stories of the players involved, not to mention the sometimes dry, technocratic yet important world of urban planning and by-laws and whatnot.
So I have carefully considered this year’s election and come to a definitive conclusion. And here is my endorsement:
Yes, this is one of those blog posts – but I’m not going to preach to you touchy-feely do it for freedom arguments. No, I’m going for the practical angle: Voter turn-out has declined in Canada over the last few decades. Some might say it’s now in a precipitous state. And municipal turn-out has always been problematic. There are likely many factors at play for people not exercising their democratic rights. Personally I am convinced that we have been offered an ever declining variety of choice in terms of what we are voting for – monied interests have very successfully narrowed the debate so that we often are choosing one or the other side of the same coin in terms of policy . As statistics have now definitively shown for much of our society wages and benefits have stagnated for decades, while a narrow few have benefited tremendously.
This, I believe, leads to a “why bother” attitude.
But the “why bother” attitude also provokes a feedback loop – the less people vote, the more the system benefits those that do. So even if you, like me, feel like we are not really being afforded a meaningful difference between the two and a half parties that have a chance to govern (almost everyone wants the same thing for Vancouver, they just differ in minor ways on how to get there) by not voting you are exacerbating the feedback loop…and politicians will be ever more inclined to pander to those that do make a point of voting.
So vote, dammit. Vote early and vote often if you have to, but vote.