A number of weeks ago I wrote an editorial questioning as to why so many people did not come out to vote during the referendum. Since then, I have spoken with many community members who had varied reasons for not doing so. There were residents that had valid reasons for being unable to get out to vote and then there were those who either just did not bother or simply—did not understand.
A few residents I spoke with did mention that they found it hard to make a decision because they could not make heads or tails out of the information presented by the opposing sides of the referendum vote.
It is my hope that the next voting process for residents, comes with much less difficulty.
This coming Saturday, November 19 is Municipal Election Day. For those residents who did not place their vote during the early poll on November 9, there are 12 hours (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) at the Legion Hall that are available to you to place your vote.
Canadian history tells us that acquiring the right to vote was a long hard process. In the beginning, (during the 1800’s) only the well-to-do land owners were able to run for or vote to elect a legislative assembly.
In 1917, the first females to vote legally in a Canadian federal election were “Bluebirds,” nurses who were tending Canadian troops in Europe during the First World War. It wasn’t until 1918 after years of struggling to have the same rights as men, that women finally won full voting rights.
In 1920, the efforts towards the universal right to vote and be a candidate began. It wasn’t until 1960 that racial and religious discrimination was no longer permitted by electoral legislation and the first election in which the right to vote was truly universal took place during the general election of 1963. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was adopted in 1982 and constitutional law has protected electoral rights since then.
The right to vote; a right that for decades so many before us fought for. A right that should be respected and not ignored.
Voting is easy, making the choice of whom you are going to place your vote for is what will take a bit of work.
The candidates for the upcoming Municipal Election are individuals whom have chosen to work for you. They are all members of your very own community. You may know them personally, work with them or maybe not know anything about them. If it is the later, then ask around about them. Talk to your friends, peers and work colleagues. Better yet, take the time to speak with the candidates. They are all available to talk with and answer your questions in one form or another. They are just an email, website, phone call or arranged visit away.
If you are unsure as to whether you are eligible to vote or if you are even registered, contact the Town Hall office during office hours, Monday to Friday, at 169 Bridge Street or by calling 250-295-3135.
This is your community, have pride in it and take part in it’s future—a future that will be your own. Take the time to think about your right and make your choice(s). On Saturday go down to the Legion and place your vote. It does count, your voice does matter, and yes, it can make a difference.
Voting is not only your right—it is your duty.