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What it will take to rock the vote

Sure, apathy is up. But the numbers indicate it’s not all bad news.


 
What it will take to rock the vote

Photograph by Peter Bregg

Here’s an unrepresentative moment from the campaign trail. Michael Ignatieff emerges from a hotel ballroom in London, Ont., where he has just whipped up an overflow crowd of supporters. As he wades through the packed lobby toward his waiting bus, shaking hands and gripping shoulders, a breathless young women in a bright red coat presses up and asks to pose for a photo with him. It’s high school student Katie Miller, 18, who’s leaning toward casting her first ballot ever for Ignatieff’s Liberals, although she hasn’t quite made up her mind. “I really enjoyed it, how personal it was,” she says of the rally experience a moment later. “But I want to know what each party stands for.”

Expressions of responsible enthusiasm like Miller’s are almost enough to make discouraged old believers in democracy take heart. Unfortunately, they are fleeting. More durable are the hard statistics showing that her attitude is rare. Voter turnout has been falling for decades, and studies reveal that the decline is concentrated overwhelmingly among the youngest potential voters. A soon-to-be-published study by two Canadian academic researchers, André Blais and Daniel Rubenson, tracked the same long-term pattern across eight countries—from Canada and Britain, to Sweden and Spain. Differences among voting systems, party structures, and the flavours of national politics, it seems, don’t count for much against the tide of youth disengagement. “Young people nowadays are less likely to view voting as a civic duty,” says Rubenson of Ryerson University in Toronto. “They think you can choose to vote or choose not to vote, and a lot of them choose not to.”

Turnout in Canadian federal elections has slid from the high of 79.4 per cent of registered voters who cast ballots in 1958, when John Diefenbaker’s Conservatives won with a landslide majority, to the 58.8 per cent who voted in 2008, when Stephen Harper’s Tories won their second consecutive minority. By far the biggest drop-off has come among those in the 18 to 24 age group. More than two-thirds of potential new voters turned out at the polls in the 1960s; by the 1980s, only about half of those eligible for the first time were voting; in the 1990s, it was down to 40 per cent; and, by 2004, only a third of those who might have cast their first ballots bothered to do so.

Finding grim tidings for the future of Canadian political life in that descent is easy enough. But it’s just possible, in sifting the data, to discover tentative grounds for cautious optimism. Consider the past three elections. The overall popular vote actually bounced up four per cent in 2006 over 2004, and the gain among the 18 to 24 age group was even better, nearly seven per cent. In other words, a somewhat more interesting election in 2006 boosted the number of young people voting by nearly double the increase among older voters.

But the 2008 election dampened overall interest again, largely because Stephane Dion’s leadership failed to spark much enthusiasm among Liberal-leaning voters. Perhaps surprisingly, though, young voters were proportionately less easily put off by the lacklustre campaign than those who had voted in a few elections. In fact, an Elections Canada working paper shows that the biggest drop was among voters aged 45 to 54, down 10.3 percentage points in 2008 from 2006. Among those 18 to 24, the decline in 2008 was 6.4 points, still marked, but less pronounced for those novice voters than among their supposedly more democratically dutiful elders.

If the evidence from the past two elections isn’t entirely discouraging, the 2011 campaign hasn’t, so far, shown great potential for luring many more young adults out to vote. All of the main parties have aimed their platforms emphatically at middle-class parents, with fairly heavy emphasis on pensions. Policies of special interest to young voters don’t get much attention. Even the Liberals’ pledge of federal payments to help out with college and university costs is pitched more at parents than students. As for the general level of enthusiasm, Innovation Research Group’s Canada 20/20 online panel for Maclean’s and Rogers Media found only 16 per cent of Quebecers see this election as more interesting than most, a view shared by just 30 per cent in the rest of Canada.

Interest in elections isn’t declining inexorably in every advanced democracy, however. The 61.6 per cent turnout in the U.S. presidental election of 2008, a return to the levels of the 1960s, was widely attributed to Barack Obama’s unique appeal to younger and minority voters. But Michael McDonald, an expert on elections at George Mason University in Washington, says the undeniable “Obama effect” should be viewed in the context of a three-election, 21st-century rebound in voting: the low point for turnout in a U.S. presidential election came in 1996. “The frame has definitely shifted,” McDonald says. Instead of viewing turnout decline as inevitable, he adds, U.S. researchers are increasingly studying factors like voter mobilization drives that halted and apparently reversed the downward cycle.

There’s nothing like a close battle, interesting candidates, and well-defined issues to boost the voting rate. In Canadian politics, the most dramatic recent example came last fall in Calgary’s mayoral election. It was a hard-fought, three-way race. The winner, Naheed Nenshi, at 38, represented youth, and, as a Muslim, his city’s growing diversity. The former business school professor drew international attention for his sophisticated use of social media, reaching younger voters, in particular, through Facebook and Twitter. The result of his image and campaign style, plus the highly competitive race, was a 53.3 per cent turnout, up massively by more than 20 percentage points from 2007. A whole new generation of Calgarians suddenly got excited about municipal politics.

Lineups at the polls like those Calgary experienced show that many voters can be drawn out if the political personalities are compelling enough. Rubenson says past generations accepted voting as a moral duty, a responsibility that couldn’t be shirked no matter how dull the candidates or distant the issues. But for four decades, new generations of voters have come to view voting as a choice, an option to be exercised only if the parties and platforms seem to matter. “There’s moral panic around [the change] to some extent,” he says. “In a sense, it’s kind of arbitrary.” Asked what his own classes of undergrads at Ryerson think of the current federal campaign, though, Rubenson can’t offer much in the way of inspiration. “I have to say they are not very interested,” he admits. “And I teach political science.”


The Canada 20/20 Panel results are drawn from 2,059 randomly selected responses to Innovative Research Group’s nationwide online survey. Responses were from April 8-11; the Canadian margin of error is plus or minus 2.16 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, larger for provincial sub-groupings

On the Web: For more on the poll results see www.macleans.ca/poll or visit www.innovativeresearch.ca


 

What it will take to rock the vote

  1. This article makes me disappointed in my generation. Guys, things won’t change unless you get out there and make your opinion and view known. The best way to do that is by voting. Furthermore, how can you speak about policies that you don’t like coming into power when you just sat back and not bothered voting for the policies you liked during an election? Exactly, you can’t. I’m getting up and voting in this election because I want to make a difference and I want to make my thoughts and opinions matter. And if you were smart, you would be joining me on May 2.

  2. This article makes me disappointed in my generation. Guys, things won’t change unless you get out there and make your opinion and view known. The best way to do that is by voting. Furthermore, how can you speak about policies that you don’t like coming into power when you just sat back and not bothered voting for the policies you liked during an election? Exactly, you can’t. I’m getting up and voting in this election because I want to make a difference and I want to make my thoughts and opinions matter. And if you were smart, you would be joining me on May 2.

    • Voting for different shades of gray is a sure-fire way to bring about zero change in government. Young people are not as easy to fool anymore. We have unprecedented access to information, which can fuel absolutely justified disillusionment. I look forward to when politicians stop the feigned head-scratching and respect this reality, that is assuming they want our vote. Judging by their policies this time around, they have no interest in earning it, as we've already turned our backs on them.

      • I have long found the idea that if politicians want my demographic to consider voting then they better damn well offer my demographic some goodies strange. Just because there is no all encompassing 18-24 year old platform, does not give you the right to say, "Well, they simply didn't talk to me so I'm going to ignore them." It's absolutely crazy, if you think about it even for a second. And, by the way, it's a viscous cycle.

        • I am not talking about goodies. I am talking about policy that will have vast impacts on young people's lives for the next few decades. Or, I should say, the complete lack of policy. There is no legitimate talk of addressing the gigantic demographic shift young people (ie. people who are young as of now) are going to have to deal with via taxation once boomers retire. Also ignored is the all-encompassing discussion of environmentalism and the desired shift towards sustainability in all industries and home-life. This is the big picture for Canada. Unfortunately, this is outside of the average political parties' scope, almost by design. I will not even bother getting into who parties truly pay attention to behind closed doors once elected. That is why my vote will not be sent should I choose not to vote. It will not be because I was not tossed a couple bones for University fees.

          • Whereas I do appreciate and agree with what your saying about the political elites ignoring the youth and the issues they face both today and in the future. And lets face it, when it comes to the future they have more to face being the youth that they are. But I disagree for a couple of reasons with the response to the aforementioned being not voting.
            The best way to show your displeasure with the ruling elites, that being primarily the Libs and the Cons, is to vote for someone other than they. While it may not look like the one you vote for hasn't got a chance of being elected or you might not agree with all their policy, the point is to show that you do care by voting. Or at the very least, go the polls and destroy your ballot by printing clearly, "None of the above". If enough people did this, then at some point Elections Canada would have to take a look at it. One hopes. For it shows you took the time and it shows an intelligent response to one's dissatisfaction with the electoral choices. Not showing up shows apathy, and apathy showed in the last election to give us this government we have.
            I can't speak for the level of corruption in all parties and I can't brush every citizens attempt to be involved by running for election, with the same brush. Be that as it may, I can say that between the Cons and the Libs, we have a hundred+ year history of scandal, corruption, self-entitlement, culminating in a party being in contempt of Parliament. I agree it is insane to expect either of these parties to change with just a few years in between scandals, so why vote for either of them? I agree, but there are other parties one could try. Which brings me to another reason to vote. Your vote carries a 2$ subsidy. If you don't vote, it does naught. But if you were to vote for a fringe party, even though they might not win a seat that 2$ subsidy helps them keep the government of whatever stripe in check.
            For balance here, I shall also suggest that you google the Corporation of Canada and find out where its head office is. It is a registered corporation with the SEC. I also suggest you google the word 'strawman'. And when you understand your true role as a Canadian citizen and what it really means. Then answer this question; Does changing the CEO of a corporation change that corporation?

  3. I am 33 and find it sad how even my generation fails to vote. I try talking politics with many of my peers, but they just seem uninterested.

  4. I am 33 and find it sad how even my generation fails to vote. I try talking politics with many of my peers, but they just seem uninterested.

  5. I have talked to so many that say they don't want to vote this time because they are mad at the way our politicians have ceased to listen to their constituents. I will not waste my vote, I believe you can't complain if you don't vote. I don't like what happened in Parliament over the last six months. Arguing, fighting and doing nothing… period. In that light my vote is going to the party that wasn't represented in this mess. I will vote Green. The message has to get across some how or we will be doing this again. Wasting money that could go to bigger and better problems.

  6. I have talked to so many that say they don't want to vote this time because they are mad at the way our politicians have ceased to listen to their constituents. I will not waste my vote, I believe you can't complain if you don't vote. I don't like what happened in Parliament over the last six months. Arguing, fighting and doing nothing… period. In that light my vote is going to the party that wasn't represented in this mess. I will vote Green. The message has to get across some how or we will be doing this again. Wasting money that could go to bigger and better problems.

    • Even tho I agree with the sentiment of your post, I disagree with your choice. I too, use to throw away my vote on Green, thinking that it will some how teach a lesson to the 2 main parties. But alas, it did not teach them anything.

      Right now, this election is history in the making. Throwing YOUR vote at a party that you know full well, will NOT win the PM seat, is just as bad as not voting at all. So who gets their voices heard…….the special interest groups & extremists, bcos they pooled their voted to elect the candidate that will give them our tax dollars…..and our taxes will go up even more as they demand more AFTER election……..as you have already seen to be true.

      This election is history in the making bcos we, the hard working SILENT MAJORITY are being taxed to death & can't keep up with the extremists global warming scam green energy agenda, that have risen our hydro rates to unbelievable proportions, with another 40% increase yet to come.

      A vote for ANY party, who's platform supports the Cap & Trade Scam or the Carbon Tax Scam, clearly shows that these people voted on blind faith rather than doing their homework.

      I refuse to waste my vote on this platform that will destroy Canada, just like it has bankrupted the European countries & California. Germany has dropped this scam & the green energy scam & is now building Coal Plants as fast as they can to restore their financial picture. DO YOUR HOME WORK RATHER THAN SUPPORTING VOTE PANDERERS!
      The Liberals, NDP & Green will Force this crippling policy down our throats……PM Harper will Not.

      Cap and Trade Explained (in plain old English) – see link below – SCARY, REAL SCARY! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FrE7ndkSwY

      Also, investigate this article link & read the comments to learn more. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/04/16/da

      Vote for the right reason, and not for the sake of teaching someone a lesson that they will never learn by wasting a vote.

      • Harper and the Conservatives are morally, intellectually, and democratically BANKRUPT.

        Those who vote for Harper's fascists, are by definition: fascists.

        • Harper wont force it down your throat, he will steal the country and our tax dollars for his American friends.
          RISE UP CANADA, RISE UP and defeat these anti-democratic, tax stealing, law breaking, citizen ejecting, ballot box grabbing, anti youth thugs! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBPOK9PIw-0&fe….

          • I think you are confused. It's Iggy who has the American friends.

          • The liberals are not hiring republican stratigists, copying republican ads, repeating republican speeches and meeting with the pres. of Fox News. Harper is clearly the "American" in this race, hands down!!!

        • You are an idiot,if you ever live under thru fascism you wouldn't be using such words to decribe Harper and his supporters which i am one, i had no idea i was a fascist,i work, look after my family,pay my taxes and treat all people with respect and consideration,so i wonder how that makes me a fascist,i repeat you are an idiot.Its people like yourself that prove that Canada is clearly broken,this country is regional dvided and cannot be fixed,i don't have an idea who you are but i can bet you live in one of Canada's largest cities just by your post.I kind of hope a coalition of losers do grab power because it will push Alberta to act and get ourselves out of this f&%$up country and far away from idiots like franz.

          • Most of Canada's population lives in "larger cities"…..and I am always amused by the Alberta Seperatist who derides the Quebec seperatist….

      • People can and should vote for who they believe most strongly represents them, only then will a change of attitudes become truly registered. If everyone on the left votes Liberal then neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives will heed their interest in change.
        Numbers count, whimsy's don't.

  7. Voting for different shades of gray is a sure-fire way to bring about zero change in government. Young people are not as easy to fool anymore. We have unprecedented access to information, which can fuel absolutely justified disillusionment. I look forward to when politicians stop the feigned head-scratching and respect this reality, that is assuming they want our vote. Judging by their policies this time around, they have no interest in earning it, as we've already turned our backs on them.

  8. Even tho I agree with the sentiment of your post, I disagree with your choice. I too, use to throw away my vote on Green, thinking that it will some how teach a lesson to the 2 main parties. But alas, it did not teach them anything.

    Right now, this election is history in the making. Throwing YOUR vote at a party that you know full well, will NOT win the PM seat, is just as bad as not voting at all. So who gets their voices heard…….the special interest groups & extremists, bcos they pooled their voted to elect the candidate that will give them our tax dollars…..and our taxes will go up even more as they demand more AFTER election……..as you have already seen to be true.

    This election is history in the making bcos we, the hard working SILENT MAJORITY are being taxed to death & can't keep up with the extremists global warming scam green energy agenda, that have risen our hydro rates to unbelievable proportions, with another 40% increase yet to come.

    A vote for ANY party, who's platform supports the Cap & Trade Scam or the Carbon Tax Scam, clearly shows that these people voted on blind faith rather than doing their homework.

    I refuse to waste my vote on this platform that will destroy Canada, just like it has bankrupted the European countries & California. Germany has dropped this scam & the green energy scam & is now building Coal Plants as fast as they can to restore their financial picture. DO YOUR HOME WORK RATHER THAN SUPPORTING VOTE PANDERERS!
    The Liberals, NDP & Green will Force this crippling policy down our throats……PM Harper will Not.

    Cap and Trade Explained (in plain old English) – see link below – SCARY, REAL SCARY! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FrE7ndkSwY

    Also, investigate this article link & read the comments to learn more. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/04/16/da

    Vote for the right reason, and not for the sake of teaching someone a lesson that they will never learn by wasting a vote.

  9. I am old. What have I seen, of politics in Canada? Canada is a cesspool of corruption. Which party is willing to purge this country, of corruption? I say none. Is there a party who will stop giving, banks, mines, large corporations, gas and oil company's billions of our tax dollars? I saw that motion pass, on the House of Commons TV channel, and the entire house voted in favor. These giant corporations, also get huge tax reductions. Harper gave big business, another tax reduction, which will come off Canadians paychecks. Harper met with Jack Layton, regarding giving these greedy company's more money. Layton capitulated to Harper's demand.

    Why is our government giving the wealthiest corporations in the world, our tax dollars? Our tax dollars belong to the Canadian people. Harper has no right to thieve from the citizens, to give to big business. However, the entire House passed that motion. Therefore, no party will put a stop to the corruption, and, their thieving from the Canadian people. It doesn't matter which party wins, the results will be the same.

    If you Google: Harper delivers his plans of, Global Governance for Canada, you can see his evil agenda. Harper said, Global Governance has been worked on since, 1945. Everyone present, that heard his speech were totally shocked. Hitler had a plan for, a thousand year Reich, which would have meant a, Global Governance. I have not one lick of respect for any of the political party's or their leaders. I will not vote in this election, for it would be, an exercise in futility.

  10. I am old. What have I seen, of politics in Canada? Canada is a cesspool of corruption. Which party is willing to purge this country, of corruption? I say none. Is there a party who will stop giving, banks, mines, large corporations, gas and oil company's billions of our tax dollars? I saw that motion pass, on the House of Commons TV channel, and the entire house voted in favor. These giant corporations, also get huge tax reductions. Harper gave big business, another tax reduction, which will come off Canadians paychecks. Harper met with Jack Layton, regarding giving these greedy company's more money. Layton capitulated to Harper's demand.

    Why is our government giving the wealthiest corporations in the world, our tax dollars? Our tax dollars belong to the Canadian people. Harper has no right to thieve from the citizens, to give to big business. However, the entire House passed that motion. Therefore, no party will put a stop to the corruption, and, their thieving from the Canadian people. It doesn't matter which party wins, the results will be the same.

    If you Google: Harper delivers his plans of, Global Governance for Canada, you can see his evil agenda. Harper said, Global Governance has been worked on since, 1945. Everyone present, that heard his speech were totally shocked. Hitler had a plan for, a thousand year Reich, which would have meant a, Global Governance. I have not one lick of respect for any of the political party's or their leaders. I will not vote in this election, for it would be, an exercise in futility.

    • And while you are at home not voting give a thought to the veterans that gave their lives for your freedom. If you do not support any party then for gods sake at least take the time to go spoil your ballot. Do not let the politicians take your vote from you. EXERCISE YOUR VOTE!

      • amazing how Harper is campaigning on the 'fragile Canadian economy' that he doesn't even believe exists!

  11. I have long found the idea that if politicians want my demographic to consider voting then they better damn well offer my demographic some goodies strange. Just because there is no all encompassing 18-24 year old platform, does not give you the right to say, "Well, they simply didn't talk to me so I'm going to ignore them." It's absolutely crazy, if you think about it even for a second. And, by the way, it's a viscous cycle.

  12. Harper and the Conservatives are morally, intellectually, and democratically BANKRUPT.

    Those who vote for Harper's fascists, are by definition: fascists.

  13. I am not talking about goodies. I am talking about policy that will have vast impacts on young people's lives for the next few decades. Or, I should say, the complete lack of policy. There is no legitimate talk of addressing the gigantic demographic shift young people (ie. people who are young as of now) are going to have to deal with via taxation once boomers retire. Also ignored is the all-encompassing discussion of environmentalism and the desired shift towards sustainability in all industries and home-life. This is the big picture for Canada. Unfortunately, this is outside of the average political parties' scope, almost by design. I will not even bother getting into who parties truly pay attention to behind closed doors once elected. That is why my vote will not be sent should I choose not to vote. It will not be because I was not tossed a couple bones for University fees.

  14. Harper wont force it down your throat, he will steal the country and our tax dollars for his American friends.
    RISE UP CANADA, RISE UP and defeat these anti-democratic, tax stealing, law breaking, citizen ejecting, ballot box grabbing, anti youth thugs! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBPOK9PIw-0&fe….

  15. Canada is rich and our politics are low-stakes; regardless of which party forms the government, we`re assured stability and security as no party really wants to rock the boat and even if they did, they`d have a hard time messing things up.

    It would be nice if people, young or old, were more civic minded and paid some attention to politics but and starting to think that apathy indicates a certain amount of faith in our system rather than a withdrawal from it. People aren`t out protesting or demanding changes instead of voting, they`re content to do nothing and focus on whatever it is they consider more important.

  16. Canada is rich and our politics are low-stakes; regardless of which party forms the government, we`re assured stability and security as no party really wants to rock the boat and even if they did, they`d have a hard time messing things up.

    It would be nice if people, young or old, were more civic minded and paid some attention to politics but and starting to think that apathy indicates a certain amount of faith in our system rather than a withdrawal from it. People aren`t out protesting or demanding changes instead of voting, they`re content to do nothing and focus on whatever it is they consider more important.

    • I agree. There would be more engagement if we had bigger/more obvious problems.

      • Agree as well… perhaps we have it to easy?

  17. And while you are at home not voting give a thought to the veterans that gave their lives for your freedom. If you do not support any party then for gods sake at least take the time to go spoil your ballot. Do not let the politicians take your vote from you. EXERCISE YOUR VOTE!

  18. There are many issues that could gain traction and get the youth vote out, but are being ignored. Where is the talk about breaking cell phone/ Internet billing gouging? How come none of them talk about environmental issues? What about finding ways for companies to have some commitment in hiring young people long term (guess who were the first to go in companies when the economy tanked)? What can the federal government do to cool the housing and rental markets that are rising far faster than inflation (hint: make incentives to build multi-storey apartment complexes, rather than single family houses or condos).

    If the youth vote doesn't come out, it is because they don't put any focus on issues that the young voter cares about. The tantrum the Conservatives had in Guelph over the special ballot at the university really shows their contempt for the young voter, for instance. University students are very mobile, especially at this time of year when the school year, and instead of encouraging these initiatives, they have outright banned them. The people my age who do vote disproportionately go for the Green Party. It isn't necessarily because they think that the carbon tax is a great idea or that they are hard environmentalists, it is because they make an effort to publicize planks that young people care about. I came into this election as a completely undecided voter, but after a lacklustre campaign from the other parties, I will be voting Green again for this very reason.

  19. There are many issues that could gain traction and get the youth vote out, but are being ignored. Where is the talk about breaking cell phone/ Internet billing gouging? How come none of them talk about environmental issues? What about finding ways for companies to have some commitment in hiring young people long term (guess who were the first to go in companies when the economy tanked)? What can the federal government do to cool the housing and rental markets that are rising far faster than inflation (hint: make incentives to build multi-storey apartment complexes, rather than single family houses or condos).

    If the youth vote doesn't come out, it is because they don't put any focus on issues that the young voter cares about. The tantrum the Conservatives had in Guelph over the special ballot at the university really shows their contempt for the young voter, for instance. University students are very mobile, especially at this time of year when the school year, and instead of encouraging these initiatives, they have outright banned them. The people my age who do vote disproportionately go for the Green Party. It isn't necessarily because they think that the carbon tax is a great idea or that they are hard environmentalists, it is because they make an effort to publicize planks that young people care about. I came into this election as a completely undecided voter, but after a lacklustre campaign from the other parties, I will be voting Green again for this very reason.

  20. This comment was deleted.

  21. Spred the word. Defeat Harper.

  22. I'm so irritated when people use the veteran card! They fought for the rights of other people abroad, but not in Canada! We, in Canada, were never at risk for losing our rights; we only lose our rights to our own politicians!

  23. My dad was in WW2 from 39-45. Landed on Juno Beach D-Day, wounded 5 times. Believe me, he was fighting for freedom and if Hitler would have won the war we would have lost our rights. I do agree that our politicians are eroding our rigts away but some are on the fast track and that would be the conservatives.

  24. My dad was in WW2 from 39-45. Landed on Juno Beach D-Day, wounded 5 times. Believe me, he was fighting for freedom and if Hitler would have won the war we would have lost our rights. I do agree that our politicians are eroding our rigts away but some are on the fast track and that would be the conservatives.

    • Congratulations to having a relative who fought in the war. How would we have lost our rights? How were our rights ever endangered? There may have been a potential if Hitler had managed to conquer Europe and made his way towards North America, but he didn't have his eyes on North America as he was trying to get Europe under his control. Honestly, we weren't in a situation to lose our rights, at all. For the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Korean War, Canadian rights were never endangered; we went in to help the people in trouble.

      For that reason, I celebrate Remembrance Day because they helped protect the rights of other people, but I cannot accept that they were doing it for the rights of Canadians. Nor can I believe that the majority of them were going in with altruistic intentions, because from all the books and documentation and interviews I've read and seen, very few went in with more than their own glory in mind.

      • I have met hundreds of veterans from the second world war in person. I have been in Legion halls in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, ThunderBay, Marathon, Montreal, St. John NB, Charlottetown and several in NS. They went to fight for freedom because they had to put a stop to Hitler before he took over the world. Every vet I have ever met said it was freedom they were fighting for and they said that was probably why they won because they fought for freedom and Hitlers armies fought for Hitler. BTW Hitlers U-Boats were in our waters off Nova Scotia and NewFoundland. North America was in his sites! And…there was no glory in war. Battle hardened vets tried to forget the war. They wouldn't talk about it!

      • "very few went in with more than their own glory in mind"

        You are an idiot pure and simple.

        My grandfather fought to free Europe from the tyranny of fascism. There wasn't anything glorious about his actions. He enlisted because of the sense of duty he felt as a human being to oppose the heinous acts of Hitler's Germany. As a tank commander he ambushed an SS platoon, tied the SS officer to his tank and crushed him against a tree because of the slaughter of Jewish people he had witnessed at the hands of the SS. My grandfather was haunted by the lives he took and never spoke of his actions until he was on his death bed. There was nothing glorious about the war for him.

        Because of my relatives and others you're free to spout your garbage. I hope you die a slow painful death.

  25. Congratulations to having a relative who fought in the war. How would we have lost our rights? How were our rights ever endangered? There may have been a potential if Hitler had managed to conquer Europe and made his way towards North America, but he didn't have his eyes on North America as he was trying to get Europe under his control. Honestly, we weren't in a situation to lose our rights, at all. For the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Korean War, Canadian rights were never endangered; we went in to help the people in trouble.

    For that reason, I celebrate Remembrance Day because they helped protect the rights of other people, but I cannot accept that they were doing it for the rights of Canadians. Nor can I believe that the majority of them were going in with altruistic intentions, because from all the books and documentation and interviews I've read and seen, very few went in with more than their own glory in mind.

  26. People can and should vote for who they believe most strongly represents them, only then will a change of attitudes become truly registered. If everyone on the left votes Liberal then neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives will heed their interest in change.
    Numbers count, whimsy's don't.

  27. Oh, yes, perfectly true. Unless, of course, the Nazi's had won that war. We would not be having this discussion now if that were so. You do know U-Boats came up the St. Lawrence River, right?

  28. Oh, yes, perfectly true. Unless, of course, the Nazi's had won that war. We would not be having this discussion now if that were so. You do know U-Boats came up the St. Lawrence River, right?

  29. You are an idiot,if you ever live under thru fascism you wouldn't be using such words to decribe Harper and his supporters which i am one, i had no idea i was a fascist,i work, look after my family,pay my taxes and treat all people with respect and consideration,so i wonder how that makes me a fascist,i repeat you are an idiot.Its people like yourself that prove that Canada is clearly broken,this country is regional dvided and cannot be fixed,i don't have an idea who you are but i can bet you live in one of Canada's largest cities just by your post.I kind of hope a coalition of losers do grab power because it will push Alberta to act and get ourselves out of this f&%$up country and far away from idiots like franz.

  30. I have met hundreds of veterans from the second world war in person. I have been in Legion halls in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, ThunderBay, Marathon, Montreal, St. John NB, Charlottetown and several in NS. They went to fight for freedom because they had to put a stop to Hitler before he took over the world. Every vet I have ever met said it was freedom they were fighting for and they said that was probably why they won because they fought for freedom and Hitlers armies fought for Hitler. BTW Hitlers U-Boats were in our waters off Nova Scotia and NewFoundland. North America was in his sites! And…there was no glory in war. Battle hardened vets tried to forget the war. They wouldn't talk about it!

  31. I agree. There would be more engagement if we had bigger/more obvious problems.

  32. Today's young people (and I'm arguably one of them) are, broadly speaking, not adults. They don't have jobs, they don't live on their own and they don't have families. Accordingly, they perceive themselves to have minimal stakes in the affairs of the nation (even post-secondary education fails to drive students, because it is usually either their parents or the state that foots the majority of the bill), and vote in very low numbers. Lowering the voting age to 18 may have made sense in the 1970s (although even then, people's brains do not stop maturing till their mid-20s), but it does not fit the contemporary reality of a generation of twenty-something children.

    I suspect disenfranchising young voters would be considered a non-starter (and there are some big exceptions to my above comments, including many of the brave men and women serving in Afghanistan), although perhaps if it were on the table, it would get young voters to stop taking their rights for granted.

  33. Today's young people (and I'm arguably one of them) are, broadly speaking, not adults. They don't have jobs, they don't live on their own and they don't have families. Accordingly, they perceive themselves to have minimal stakes in the affairs of the nation (even post-secondary education fails to drive students, because it is usually either their parents or the state that foots the majority of the bill), and vote in very low numbers. Lowering the voting age to 18 may have made sense in the 1970s (although even then, people's brains do not stop maturing till their mid-20s), but it does not fit the contemporary reality of a generation of twenty-something children.

    I suspect disenfranchising young voters would be considered a non-starter (and there are some big exceptions to my above comments, including many of the brave men and women serving in Afghanistan), although perhaps if it were on the table, it would get young voters to stop taking their rights for granted.

  34. I think you are confused. It's Iggy who has the American friends.

  35. You need to look at the quality of the options which, frankly, isn't much to inspire. The Libs, Cons and NDP have all been going at this campaign with a certain level of tech saviness, but to what end?
    Look, Michael Ignatieff is tweeting…his talking points. Are they using social media to engage with voters in any meaningful way? There are some MPs that have been using twitter, facebook et al but I've noticed that since the election started their exchanges have been muted.

    If we want to know why people aren't tuned it we have to look at the policies. I've been talking to people – some of them with lawn signs – who are voting based on default or to keep another candidate (in my riding, the Conservatives) out of power. A lesser evil approach is no way to run a democracy. While elections might be the worst time to bring up new policy (or – gasp! – change it) the media at least owes it to Canadians to create a conduit through which the policies can be discussed and dissected. Two leaders debates in the middle of April aren't going to cut it.

  36. You need to look at the quality of the options which, frankly, isn't much to inspire. The Libs, Cons and NDP have all been going at this campaign with a certain level of tech saviness, but to what end?
    Look, Michael Ignatieff is tweeting…his talking points. Are they using social media to engage with voters in any meaningful way? There are some MPs that have been using twitter, facebook et al but I've noticed that since the election started their exchanges have been muted.

    If we want to know why people aren't tuned it we have to look at the policies. I've been talking to people – some of them with lawn signs – who are voting based on default or to keep another candidate (in my riding, the Conservatives) out of power. A lesser evil approach is no way to run a democracy. While elections might be the worst time to bring up new policy (or – gasp! – change it) the media at least owes it to Canadians to create a conduit through which the policies can be discussed and dissected. Two leaders debates in the middle of April aren't going to cut it.

    • Youth apathy has nothing to do with the effectiveness of media. Today's youth are raised in an individualistic society where consumption has replaced community, religion, clubs, etc. If we want youth to be engaged in politics they must be educated in a sustained curriculum that emphasises the role of all levels of government, the impact of policy, political history, etc. They must be taught the importance and functionality of our institutions if they are to respect and to participate in them.

  37. A vote for the Conservatives is a guarantee our public health care if finished; over. A vote for the Conservatives is endorsing them freezing the CPP in time thereby opening the door for a private, province controlled health care system. Alberta is courting US health care providers to bring their patients to Alberta for operations and recovery saying we are cheaper. Cheaper? Who pays? The Canada Health Act currently prohibits this.

    Harper stalled making changes to enhance the CPP betting on a majority to introduce the private system that Ted Morton wanted.

    What's wrong with the private/provincial system? It means the provinces would control the funds and be able to lever them or invest them as they seen fit. Alberta's Heritage Trust is an example. It is now capped at 4% profit; everything else is drawn off by the Alberta Government.

    The Conservatives have pulled out 70 billion dollars from that plan and used it in general revenues thereby subsidizing the artificially low royalty rates.

    No! I do not want the Morton system; I want an enhanced CPP Federal system.

  38. A vote for the Conservatives is a guarantee our public health care if finished; over. A vote for the Conservatives is endorsing them freezing the CPP in time thereby opening the door for a private, province controlled health care system. Alberta is courting US health care providers to bring their patients to Alberta for operations and recovery saying we are cheaper. Cheaper? Who pays? The Canada Health Act currently prohibits this.

    Harper stalled making changes to enhance the CPP betting on a majority to introduce the private system that Ted Morton wanted.

    What's wrong with the private/provincial system? It means the provinces would control the funds and be able to lever them or invest them as they seen fit. Alberta's Heritage Trust is an example. It is now capped at 4% profit; everything else is drawn off by the Alberta Government.

    The Conservatives have pulled out 70 billion dollars from that plan and used it in general revenues thereby subsidizing the artificially low royalty rates.

    No! I do not want the Morton system; I want an enhanced CPP Federal system.

  39. <a href="http://www.conservative.ca” target=”_blank”>www.conservative.ca
    Site that is preventing this guy from from preventing a Harper Majority. Vote wise and we'll have a stable majority government.

  40. Where are the parents? I'm a 49 year old father and I will make sure my 19 year old will vote and know about each of the canidates.

  41. Where are the parents? I'm a 49 year old father and I will make sure my 19 year old will vote and know about each of the canidates.

  42. Harper says HE / HIS Government will not open the abortion, capital punishment debates, but he CANNOT stop a Tory member from posting a private member's bill to kick start the process. With a majority Harper will dictate all. It's NOT a simple matter of whether or not governments will publicly fund abortions… it has to do with a woman's right to choose and the criminal code.

  43. Harper says HE / HIS Government will not open the abortion, capital punishment debates, but he CANNOT stop a Tory member from posting a private member's bill to kick start the process. With a majority Harper will dictate all. It's NOT a simple matter of whether or not governments will publicly fund abortions… it has to do with a woman's right to choose and the criminal code.

    • A Tory MP can post a private member's bill no matter who wins the election.

  44. The liberals are not hiring republican stratigists, copying republican ads, repeating republican speeches and meeting with the pres. of Fox News. Harper is clearly the "American" in this race, hands down!!!

  45. A Tory MP can post a private member's bill no matter who wins the election.

  46. It's probably a good thing more young people don't vote. I'm 23 and even my most educated peers don't know the difference between municipal, provincial and federal governments. It would be hard for these individuals to make an informed decision based on the impact of policy when they haven't the faintest clue which level of government is putting the policies forward.

    Perhaps more young adults would vote if we placed the same amount of emphasis we do into forcing something as frivolous and useless as French on our children into a sustained course on the nature of our government and its laws.

  47. It's probably a good thing more young people don't vote. I'm 23 and even my most educated peers don't know the difference between municipal, provincial and federal governments. It would be hard for these individuals to make an informed decision based on the impact of policy when they haven't the faintest clue which level of government is putting the policies forward.

    Perhaps more young adults would vote if we placed the same amount of emphasis we do into forcing something as frivolous and useless as French on our children into a sustained course on the nature of our government and its laws.

    • You think a second language is frivolous and useless?? Really?

  48. Youth apathy has nothing to do with the effectiveness of media. Today's youth are raised in an individualistic society where consumption has replaced community, religion, clubs, etc. If we want youth to be engaged in politics they must be educated in a sustained curriculum that emphasises the role of all levels of government, the impact of policy, political history, etc. They must be taught the importance and functionality of our institutions if they are to respect and to participate in them.

  49. You people make me laugh. How is it that if the Canadian electorate is slowly growing ever more tired of the growth of soul-sucking socialism and thus turning to the right, this is somehow seen as "anti-democratic"? How is it that only when our political structure moves towards the left that you feel that democracy is working? You can't square that circle.
    You can't call the continued existence and expansion of equalization, whereby the so-called "have-not" provinces expand their budgets by imposing taxes on "offshore" jurisdictions, safely out of the electoral reach of the citizens actually burdened with the taxes they levy, a democratic process.
    You can't call your support of continued existence of the long-gun registry democratic, when the only people remotely affected by it are the kinds of gun owners who simply aren't part of the gun violence problem. At the same time that you bleat loudly in defense of the gun registry as some magical protector of women, you remain steadfast in opposition to the idea that we should actually severely punish those who do commit violence against women. (I'm opposed to capital punishment, yet it would be a phalanx of lefties who would chain themselves to the jailhouse door were we to try and execute Russell Williams, and it will be a lefty who will be encouraging his parole some 25 years hence.) That's not democratic.
    How is it democratic that you call yourselves pro-choice, when the vast majority of us anti-abortionists would be happy with a simple end to public funding of abortions? You say you're pro-choice, yet you refuse to allow me the choice of de-funding the CBC? You also reject the idea of de-funding political parties by taxpayers? How is that "pro-choice?" How do you make the argument that political parties will be controlled by big donations from big corporations under the current formula (which is not merely implausible but impossible), when it was strong-armed union money that funded the NDP in the past, and big corporate donations that funded the Liberals in the bad old days?
    How democratic is it that I'm obligated to fund not only the Greens, the NDP, and the criminally corrupt Liberal Party of Canada, but a political party dedicated to the break-up of Canada? Remember that it was the NDP who fought a major legal battle to defeat a union member who objected to his union dues being automatically shuffled to the NDP when he and other members routinely voted for other political parties. How can we expect Canada to be more democratic under a party lead by an acknowledged and avowed Marxist? (Layton)
    We are rapidly approaching an economic point where less than half of all Canadians are net taxpayers. How democratic will it be when the rights of the minority to have a say in the scale of their tax burden will be overpowered by a ruthless, socialist majority ever more greedy for what they see as their rightful share of what the so-called "rich" earn?

  50. amazing how Harper is campaigning on the 'fragile Canadian economy' that he doesn't even believe exists!

  51. Used you health care lately? how is your siblings, childrens, parents or grandparents health? Damn socialists!!!!

  52. Used you health care lately? how is your siblings, childrens, parents or grandparents health? Damn socialists!!!!

    • Actually, thanks to the miracle of government run health care, it'll take my wife some 18 months more pain and suffering before she gets surgery on her hip. Unless of course we dip into our hard-earned savings and go south of the border for it. Almost half of our taxes goes towards health care, so you can't say it's underfunded, yet if we were to demand that we take a long, hard look at the pay and benefits of many of our health care workers we're called enemies of the working class. This in the face of 1/4 mill. dollar a year nurses (Saskatoon), and common pre-60 retirement amongst a class of employees who are supposedly underpaid and over worked.
      Let me tell you, I am THE quintessential middle class. My wife and I combined earn low six-figures and have contributed to our retirement since the age of 19, yet will only have the likelihood of a retirement in our early 60's if we gamble all the equity in our home plus a chunk of our retirement savings on a business venture that will employ 10 people (and contribute thousands of dollars per month to government coffers via payroll and fuel taxes) in the hopes that we can have a successful enterprise. For this we will be villified for having audacity to take our own money to pay for health care, as well as having the audacity to ask that the government take steps to trim the size and scope of what is largely ineffectual and useless government.

  53. "very few went in with more than their own glory in mind"

    You are an idiot pure and simple.

    My grandfather fought to free Europe from the tyranny of fascism. There wasn't anything glorious about his actions. He enlisted because of the sense of duty he felt as a human being to oppose the heinous acts of Hitler's Germany. As a tank commander he ambushed an SS platoon, tied the SS officer to his tank and crushed him against a tree because of the slaughter of Jewish people he had witnessed at the hands of the SS. My grandfather was haunted by the lives he took and never spoke of his actions until he was on his death bed. There was nothing glorious about the war for him.

    Because of my relatives and others you're free to spout your garbage. I hope you die a slow painful death.

  54. Of course, another way to look at the funding of political parties through the per-vote subsidy, is that since it IS a per-vote susbidy, then it is actually only the taxes of those who vote for a particular party that goes to that party. So lighten up, you're not paying for the evil parties on the left, only the evil party on the right.

  55. Of course, another way to look at the funding of political parties through the per-vote subsidy, is that since it IS a per-vote susbidy, then it is actually only the taxes of those who vote for a particular party that goes to that party. So lighten up, you're not paying for the evil parties on the left, only the evil party on the right.

    • That is a profoundly inaccurate way to look at it. The per-vote subsidy comes from our tax dollars, not from individual voters. If, for instance, somebody does not pay taxes, then they contribute nothing to the cost of the per-vote subsidy.

      • And you're assuming that only supporters of one particular party pay taxes?
        And that if for any reason you are unable to pay taxes your voice shouldn't count for something?

        • Well, to a certain degree, non-taxpayers have a disproportionate voice in our political system. The single largest bloc of NDP support is amongst unionized govt. employees who are net non-taxpayers. They are also popular among young and low income people who also don't generally pay taxes. Quebec and much of the Maritimes receive considerably more in equalization largess than they collectively pay in, yet they have a say at the federal table when it comes to formulating and dividing up the equalization pool.
          This kind of thing is all well and good when the tax system is somewhat equitable. But, when it becomes apparent that tax spenders outnumber taxpayers, the rights of the taxpayers become seriously imperiled. Their voice becomes shut out. The most basic principle of democracy is that we protect the rights of the minority. No one has an automatic right to government largesse, nor is there an automatic right of any citizen to share in the bounty of others.
          Therefore, it's incumbent upon our legislators to shrink government when the needs of government begin to infringe upon the rights of citizens to enjoy the fruits of their own labor. It's impossible for government to grow at a rate faster than inflation and population forver. At some time you run out of the ability of taxpayers to pay.

  56. That is a profoundly inaccurate way to look at it. The per-vote subsidy comes from our tax dollars, not from individual voters. If, for instance, somebody does not pay taxes, then they contribute nothing to the cost of the per-vote subsidy.

  57. Actually, thanks to the miracle of government run health care, it'll take my wife some 18 months more pain and suffering before she gets surgery on her hip. Unless of course we dip into our hard-earned savings and go south of the border for it. Almost half of our taxes goes towards health care, so you can't say it's underfunded, yet if we were to demand that we take a long, hard look at the pay and benefits of many of our health care workers we're called enemies of the working class. This in the face of 1/4 mill. dollar a year nurses (Saskatoon), and common pre-60 retirement amongst a class of employees who are supposedly underpaid and over worked.
    Let me tell you, I am THE quintessential middle class. My wife and I combined earn low six-figures and have contributed to our retirement since the age of 19, yet will only have the likelihood of a retirement in our early 60's if we gamble all the equity in our home plus a chunk of our retirement savings on a business venture that will employ 10 people (and contribute thousands of dollars per month to government coffers via payroll and fuel taxes) in the hopes that we can have a successful enterprise. For this we will be villified for having audacity to take our own money to pay for health care, as well as having the audacity to ask that the government take steps to trim the size and scope of what is largely ineffectual and useless government.

  58. Quote:
    Today's young people (and I'm arguably one of them) are, broadly speaking, not adults. They don't have jobs, they don't live on their own and they don't have families. Accordingly, they perceive themselves to have minimal stakes in the affairs of the nation (even post-secondary education fails to drive students, because it is usually either their parents or the state that foots the majority of the bill), and vote in very low numbers. Lowering the voting age to 18 may have made sense in the 1970s (although even then, people's brains do not stop maturing till their mid-20s), but it does not fit the contemporary reality of a generation of twenty-something children. "

    The problem isn't that we in our 20s are entitled, unaware or lazy – it is that there is nothing for us to vote for. Many of us are as well-informed and "aware" (in the popular sense of the word) as any other demographic. We are just too few to been seen as politically attractive and thus none of the major parties have any great interest in attracting our votes. Personally, I don't want may payroll taxes to go to health care and pensions for baby boomers, but there is no party stupid enough to adopt that kind of position – they all have similar enough policies on the issues that matter to the young that it really doesn't matter which one wins. That's the nature of democracy run by parties – each must compete for the Big Prize (the vast number of people like the guy who posted the above quote) and they don't care (because they can't care) about people like me.

    Right back atcha, political process.

  59. Quote:
    Today's young people (and I'm arguably one of them) are, broadly speaking, not adults. They don't have jobs, they don't live on their own and they don't have families. Accordingly, they perceive themselves to have minimal stakes in the affairs of the nation (even post-secondary education fails to drive students, because it is usually either their parents or the state that foots the majority of the bill), and vote in very low numbers. Lowering the voting age to 18 may have made sense in the 1970s (although even then, people's brains do not stop maturing till their mid-20s), but it does not fit the contemporary reality of a generation of twenty-something children. "

    The problem isn't that we in our 20s are entitled, unaware or lazy – it is that there is nothing for us to vote for. Many of us are as well-informed and "aware" (in the popular sense of the word) as any other demographic. We are just too few to been seen as politically attractive and thus none of the major parties have any great interest in attracting our votes. Personally, I don't want may payroll taxes to go to health care and pensions for baby boomers, but there is no party stupid enough to adopt that kind of position – they all have similar enough policies on the issues that matter to the young that it really doesn't matter which one wins. That's the nature of democracy run by parties – each must compete for the Big Prize (the vast number of people like the guy who posted the above quote) and they don't care (because they can't care) about people like me.

    Right back atcha, political process.

  60. Whereas I do appreciate and agree with what your saying about the political elites ignoring the youth and the issues they face both today and in the future. And lets face it, when it comes to the future they have more to face being the youth that they are. But I disagree for a couple of reasons with the response to the aforementioned being not voting.
    The best way to show your displeasure with the ruling elites, that being primarily the Libs and the Cons, is to vote for someone other than they. While it may not look like the one you vote for hasn't got a chance of being elected or you might not agree with all their policy, the point is to show that you do care by voting. Or at the very least, go the polls and destroy your ballot by printing clearly, "None of the above". If enough people did this, then at some point Elections Canada would have to take a look at it. One hopes. For it shows you took the time and it shows an intelligent response to one's dissatisfaction with the electoral choices. Not showing up shows apathy, and apathy showed in the last election to give us this government we have.
    I can't speak for the level of corruption in all parties and I can't brush every citizens attempt to be involved by running for election, with the same brush. Be that as it may, I can say that between the Cons and the Libs, we have a hundred+ year history of scandal, corruption, self-entitlement, culminating in a party being in contempt of Parliament. I agree it is insane to expect either of these parties to change with just a few years in between scandals, so why vote for either of them? I agree, but there are other parties one could try. Which brings me to another reason to vote. Your vote carries a 2$ subsidy. If you don't vote, it does naught. But if you were to vote for a fringe party, even though they might not win a seat that 2$ subsidy helps them keep the government of whatever stripe in check.
    For balance here, I shall also suggest that you google the Corporation of Canada and find out where its head office is. It is a registered corporation with the SEC. I also suggest you google the word 'strawman'. And when you understand your true role as a Canadian citizen and what it really means. Then answer this question; Does changing the CEO of a corporation change that corporation?

  61. Agree as well… perhaps we have it to easy?

  62. And you're assuming that only supporters of one particular party pay taxes?
    And that if for any reason you are unable to pay taxes your voice shouldn't count for something?

  63. Well, to a certain degree, non-taxpayers have a disproportionate voice in our political system. The single largest bloc of NDP support is amongst unionized govt. employees who are net non-taxpayers. They are also popular among young and low income people who also don't generally pay taxes. Quebec and much of the Maritimes receive considerably more in equalization largess than they collectively pay in, yet they have a say at the federal table when it comes to formulating and dividing up the equalization pool.
    This kind of thing is all well and good when the tax system is somewhat equitable. But, when it becomes apparent that tax spenders outnumber taxpayers, the rights of the taxpayers become seriously imperiled. Their voice becomes shut out. The most basic principle of democracy is that we protect the rights of the minority. No one has an automatic right to government largesse, nor is there an automatic right of any citizen to share in the bounty of others.
    Therefore, it's incumbent upon our legislators to shrink government when the needs of government begin to infringe upon the rights of citizens to enjoy the fruits of their own labor. It's impossible for government to grow at a rate faster than inflation and population forver. At some time you run out of the ability of taxpayers to pay.

  64. Most of Canada's population lives in "larger cities"…..and I am always amused by the Alberta Seperatist who derides the Quebec seperatist….

  65. You think a second language is frivolous and useless?? Really?

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