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Alex Has Opinions on Elections

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On the day of publication for this issue, the Provincial Election is occurring, and nothing is scarier to me.

Firstly, the idea of spending more time under Doug Ford makes me sick. After spending four years under his crack-smoking brother in Toronto, watching him lie about corruption and wasted money while cancelling already-paid transit plans and ruining the city’s access to transportation, all while listening to Rob and Doug Ford crow on their self-aggrandizing radio show, put me off the man. Nevermind at all how his repeated attempts to lift lockdowns right before Christmas or other holidays led to deadly waves of COVID-19.

My social media, in its algorithim’s infinite wisdom, has decided to show me the usual millennial election mantra: “Look here to find out which party has the best chance of ousting the Conservatives in your riding. Don’t just vote for a party.”. It’s a sentiment that bothers me, both as a Canadian and as a young person.

I’ve voted for the Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP at different points in my life, and have never been shy about voting where I think is right. I know that in Canada, the individual candidate can matter as much as the party, though I find that a larger organization overrides the individual.

I worked for Boris Wrzesnewskyj [fshiss-NEF-skee, for those of you unsure how to pronounce]’s riding in the 2012 election in Toronto for Etobicoke Center, and again when he sought to overturn his defeat afterwards, claiming manipulation and intimidation by the Conservatives. Stories of Conservative members starting scenes at polling stations and votes from outside the riding abounded. I hadn’t heard of the guy before that, but I happened to know people involved in his campaign, and figured I should be involved in the process.

I didn’t find it particularly bad, really. But over the years, I’ve become soured to the process. Trudeau’s refusal to pursue promised election reform, the repeated cuts to healthcare in Ontario, and the slow creeping wealth disparity and housing bubble, along with Whitewater’s exorbitant water costs, make the whole process look rather useless.

Pembroke-Renfrew-Nippissing votes Conservative; I have no illusions I live in a riding that votes right-wing regardless of whether or not the candidate even campaigns. Rural areas always feel that only conservatives care about them, with liberals caring about cities. All talk, in my opinion – Conservatism benefits the urban just as much as any other, and fringe issues. I do know they like their privatization, something that is bad for rural areas, with essential services suddenly facing incredible costs.

Going out to vote feels like an exercise in futility at the best of times. How do you vote knowing that your choice won’t matter, or that the party that most aligns with you is unlikely to accomplish anything if you do win? Democracy has a tendency to lose its lustre when you feel like you are outnumbered.

Giving up, however, is not really an option. Trump got into the American Presidency when a large section of the United States just didn’t vote; the Liberals in Canada lost tremendous territory in 2012 after calling election after election, fatiguing their supporters. I’d rather not be the missed vote that leads to the populist jerk.

So I’ll continue on, and try my best to involve myself and what I believe in. Someone has to I suppose.