Be a Citizen not a Subject
At a principled level everyone who is eligible to vote should vote. Voting is part of our political freedom and should not be taken lightly particularly since so many Canadians died in defense of our freedoms including the right to vote. Indeed if you were to take a closer look at the world today you would notice that the freedoms that we so often take for granted in Canada are not readily available in many countries. If you wish to be a citizen then you must vote. If you wish to be a subject then simply sit back and take what is given to you. The choice is yours!
Exercise Your Democratic Right
One of the real virtues of municipal government is that it is a great place to learn about and participate in the democratic process. While it may be difficult to navigate ones way through the maze of provincial and federal policy issues, the ones at the local level are easily understood and often very close to home. It is one of the reasons that municipal government is considered to be one of the building blocks in emerging democratic nations.
Yet notwithstanding the importance of local democracy, voter turnout by the young is alarmingly weak and is surely a cause for great concern. One of the ways to influence the young is to discuss local politics at home and to demonstrate the importance of voting by actually casting your own vote.
Be a Part of the Conversation
On a practical level elections are the time when incumbent politicians have to justify their voting record and discuss future directions. This is therefore the time when you can engage in a broad political conversation regarding the future direction of your municipality. Your active participation can also send a clear signal regarding the way in which your community is to be governed. With scarce resources not all needs and wants can be met. So which ones will get priority and which ones will not will often depend upon who is politically active. Will there be more money allocated to recreation or to water and sewer projects; will there be an increase in the snow removal budget or will there be more money for police and will keeping the tax rate low prevail over all other service delivery considerations. Choices have to be made and your voice needs to be heard.