Rhymes with moat

Guess what day it is tomorrow.

If you guessed “Wednesday,” let me congratulate you for knowing your days of the week.

But tomorrow is also Ontario’s provincial election—you know, where we vote for the people we want to govern this province for the next four years.

Or where we don’t vote.

An alarming number of the people reading this column won’t vote tomorrow, and that’s not only pathetic—it’s downright scary.

Canada’s campuses have become tepid and apathetic, and Queen’s is no exception. Statistics Canada tells us we’re engaging more in alternative forms of political involvement, but if we can’t be bothered to involve ourselves in the most basic aspect of our political system, we’re opting out of our citizenship.

I know many people who simply can’t be bothered to vote: they don’t have time; they don’t feel informed; they feel their vote won’t make a difference; they’re convinced NOT voting makes a statement in and of itself.

Those excuses are all crap.

Of course you have time to vote: it takes about half an hour to get to your polling station, fill out a ballot and get back. Polling stations are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and I refuse to believe you don’t have the time to check off a box and elect a government.

Don’t feel sufficiently familiar with the parties or the referendum question? Pick up a couple copies of the Journal: today’s issue includes detailed profiles of all the candidates running in this riding and a breakdown of each party’s platform, as well as opinion pieces by campus political groups.

The previous two issues of the Journal, which you can find online, feature an in-depth two-part series on how mixed member proportional works, as well as a point-counterpoint by Queen’s professors arguing for and against the proposed system.

The argument that your vote won’t make a difference could be valid if this weren’t a referendum: tomorrow you’re also choosing whether to adopt a new electoral system—a choice that will dictate the province’s political future for the next several decades, at least.

Don’t like any of the candidates or parties vying for your vote? That’s no surprise, given our choices: each of the parties has pulled out a laundry list of promises for post-secondary education that are either far-fetched or ignore the problem altogether.

The parties’ apparent ignorance of what students need speaks to students’ own failure to articulate that need: campaigning parties focus on health care and pensions because those are the primary concerns of their most vocal constituents—those 45 and older.

If we as students want to be looked upon as more than just a delinquent demographic we need to have an active voice in the machinations of our political leaders.

Choosing not to vote or spoiling your ballot out of “conviction” or disillusionment with “the system” is the electoral equivalent of throwing a temper tantrum: it may make you feel better, but when was the last time a cranky two-year-old dictated public policy?

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