Well, it’s official. As Canadians, we can look forward to a majority Conservative government at all government levels for the next four years. This is frightening. If my Facebook newsfeed is any indication, now would be a great time to revisit the young Canadian’s viewpoint on this newly elected nationwide government.
I’m the first to admit that I was hoping yesterday’s election would shake things up a little more than it did. The optimist in me sees the potential of the NDP to make a real impact in the next four years and show Canadians what they can do. It’s clear that NDP supporters also saw this potential. They did, after all, celebrate as if they won!
On the other hand, the pessimist in me can’t help but feel a little concerned about what the future will hold with a Conservative majority government in place. Stephen Harper has been responsible for some very questionable initiatives. For example, Harper tried to eliminate the long form census, which helps our government determine the needs of the country. In addition, as I said in a previous post, he plans to cut funding to International Planned Parenthood, due to his beliefs surrounding abortion, which is legal in Canada.
I have never been much of a believer in Conservative values. The concept of “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” could not, in my opinion, be more problematic. In 2008, over 300,000 Canadians lost their jobs due to the economic recession. Harper’s economic recovery plan seemed to favour the wealthy, bringing the net worth of the richest Canadians up by 5%.
Last night, as I watched the election results with some friends, it became very clear, very quickly, just how important it is for Canadian youth to make their voices heard in politics. From coast to coast, more and more young Canadians (myself, included) were making their vote for the NDP, hoping to see some real political shifts and changes. There are still far too many people (from my experience, mainly young people) out there who feel that not taking a political stance is taking a stance. This apathetic view is shared by many, but it doesn’t change the fact that the government still directly impacts our daily lives, whether you execute your right to vote or not. This year’s election had a mere 61% voter turnout.
If you don’t think that your vote makes a difference and that you can shape your world with your voice, what good is the right to vote at all? There are people in countries around the world that see the right to vote as an immense privilege. We were lucky enough to be born in a country, and a generation, where we do have the right to vote, where women are given sovereignty over their bodies, and our voice can be heard. Claiming ignorance is no longer an excuse, which can easily be demonstrated through the boom in social media use.
I’m no political expert and I don’t think that trash talking the opposition should be the way to sway votes. However, despite the results of last night’s election, a 40% majority government is not as great as Conservatives might think. A lack of proportional representation is an ongoing problem. There are many people who disagree with Harper’s platforms and, like myself, would like to see some real and positive changes in the years to come.
In the next four years, I’ll try to resurrect my more optimistic side and remember that the NDP has claimed some record-breaking seat numbers. Perhaps this is the start of something much more historical than people realize. Hopefully, all those apathetic people out there will start re-evaluating things too. I guess we’ll only know, for sure, when we hit the polls again in four years.