It is on.
On Sept. 11, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Rideau Hall and asked the Governor General to dissolve Canada’s 42nd Parliament thus officially kicking off the 2019 federal election.
Inevitably, elections bring up questions about voting. Should we have online voting? Should we change the first-past-the-post system? Should voting be mandatory?
Often these questions are proxies for a more generalized sense of unease about Canadian democracy.
Over the entire history of the nation, the average voter turnout has been only 70.7 per cent. Of course, that statistic includes many years when the majority of Canadian adults did not even have the right to vote, so it is perhaps more instructive to look at more recent history.
At just 58.8 per cent, 2008 was the lowest turnout on record. In 2011, only 61.4 per cent showed up at the polls, the third lowest result. Even 2015, which saw the highest engagement since 1993, was only 68.5 per cent.
It is tempting to take an optimistic view that the Canadian government works smoothly and evenly enough that between 30 and 40 per cent of eligible voters do not feel the need to exercise their democratic right.
Polls suggest, however, there is a sense of disillusionment, even cynicism among both those who do vote and those who don’t.
A recent poll by Research Co. indicated 58 per cent of British Columbians feel none of the current federal parties represent their views and 72 per cent believe most federal politicians are obligated to toe their party’s line as opposed to representing their constituents’ wishes.
Ultimately, there are a number of voting strategies that come into play in any election.
The Interior News will not be following the age-old journalistic tradition of endorsing a candidate.
Instead, we urge Skeena-Bulkley Valley voters to be informed.
Resist the temptation to reside in the social media echo chambers.
Beware the disinformation and misinformation that will inevitably be spread.
Get out and meet the candidates at one of the many events scheduled over the next few weeks, including the Chamber of Commerce all candidates forum at Della Herman Theatre Oct. 15.
This riding is one of the largest, most remote, most diverse and perhaps most difficult to represent in the country.
We urge all voters to put aside partisan considerations and vote for the person who will best represent the interests of Skeena-Bulkley Valley in the House of Commons.