Here we are again—time to exercise our democratic right. While many of you have expressed to me that they feel voting is futile, it is not. Or at least we have to fight for it not to be. Every election, we become increasingly discouraged after four years of watching traditional media report about the candidates we chose to give our voice to. Be it municipal, provincial or federal, we have gotten used to the feeling of "what's the point? Nothing changes."
I feel you. I do. But I am not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Democracy was designed to give us the right to choose who will handle everything from our money to our health for four years.
Let's be honest; nobody seems to be able to fix the healthcare system despite the platforms. I don't hold a lot of hope there. The system is broken; we need to think outside the box and maybe get the politicians out of the conversation. They are often not qualified or in the trenches with us when we wait 24 hours to see a doctor. I don't suspect they sit on the waiting list for years to see a family doctor.
As far as the finances go, that is a more personal view, unlike healthcare, where we all suffer the same fate. I am very fiscally conservative and feel very uncomfortable spending more than we have, and our children will be left with that mess.
Environment, everyone's level of comfort is different here. We need to choose the candidate that most aligns with our way of thinking and how we see the future of our earth. I personally probably run in the middle of the road on this. I am not an extremist, but I worry and try hard to do the right thing. I am, again, trying not to leave our children with a mess they may or may not be able to clean up. I like to travel and still have one out of two cars that run on gas, so I can't pretend my "offsets" cover my footprint.
Don't even get me started on the 13 demerged cities that suffer taxation without representation. Many cities in the West Island pay more than 50% of their tax base to the city of Montreal in exchange for water, police and fire services etc. Why do I bring this up in a provincial election? The provincial government is the only body of government with the power to change this. Do you think the Mayor of Montreal will give up the control of millions of their revenue because we have no chance to vote for him/her? Me either. The province has to make the change. So far - nobody even answers me when I ask that question.
It is going to take some very strong willed leaders who are not focused on their next mandate to take the risk and get these jobs done. We MUST find the candidates that are truly in it for the right reasons. They all say it, but which are the ones that mean it?
The point is there are many things on the agenda, especially after the last two and half years. We are tired. Fed up with watching traditional news after work only to be so discouraged we stop being informed all together. But there is something we can do. We can vote. We can try to climb back to the democracy that once was. Choose the person if not the party. Meet your candidate. They are all out there in full force, trying to get their seat. They will run to speak to you. This is the one time they are fully engaged with their residents. Please take advantage of it.
Not voting is not sending a message, and all that does is make it possible for the candidate with the most friends to win. Vote. Show up. It is our future. But more importantly, our children's future. We must stand up and try even when we feel it is a waste of time.
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These are the personal views of Rhonda Massad.