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GUEST COLUMN: Even those who think government is useless should vote

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Heather Anne Wakeling Lister

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic many Canadians breathed a sigh of relief when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphatically stated: “We’ve got your back.”

Heather Anne Wakeling-Lister

His words and actions were important to those who, through no fault of their own, found themselves unemployed or business owners struggling with cash flow.

Controlling the severity of the virus affected every single one of us. The hard, cold facts of the economic slowdown were blatantly evident as gaps in our social construct – those previously stepped over – began to widen.

And people fell in.

We have endured other crises, as Canadian history shows.  Battle determined our border with the United States. Great loss of life resulted from our participation in two World Wars, as well as military involvement in Korea and Afghanistan.

The Great Depression brought economic failure, and previous epidemics of smallpox, cholera, the Spanish flu, tuberculosis and polio all took horrific tolls. Through it all we learned hard lessons, including that political will for developing a supportive social structure is important.

With the introduction of income taxes and development of social programs, Canada has provided financial support to help individuals in need.

There is no excuse for not making a concerted effort to participate in the democratic process.

The current government has called an early election. Is it a wise political strategy? A bad one? The electorate’s tally at the end of voting day will determine that.

According to a recent poll published by Global News, the issues most Canadians are concerned about this year are, in order: affordable housing, climate change, the economy, and then the Covid-19 pandemic. All important socially and politically determined constructs.

I once met a couple disgusted with Canadian politics, who were quite serious about moving to the United States. The wife actually pulled out a list of the pros and cons she was carrying in her purse: tax deductions, less restrictions for private businesses in the U.S., and so on. However, she did appreciate the Canadian health care system.

In trying to change the subject, I asked, “Have either of you decided on who to vote for?”

“Vote?” they said, “We never vote. Why should we? It’s hopeless, the government doesn’t listen and does what it wants too anyway.”

I beg to differ. Elections are important. The people elected at the riding level contribute to policy decisions that effect communities.

Take the time to consider the platforms of the candidates, and vote.

Heather Anne Wakeling Lister is a Sarnia-based freelance writer  





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