Letter: Thoughts on recent elections

The editor:

So, we’ve seen a number of elections taking place recently - provincial elections around the country, including here in our own province. The closest is obviously our local municipal elections.

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What has been a real eye-opener has been the number of people going out to vote.

Sadly, Saskatchewan voters stayed away in droves during the provincial election. Roughly 50 per cent … This is not cause for excitement. Even the political parties should be shaking their heads. They should be asking why.

Are the people of Saskatchewan tired of the way things are going? Complacent? Lacking in trust?

Right now, we are in the middle of a worldwide health crisis, plus we have here an economic problem. With two major industries in crisis in this province we should be looking for solutions. This starts at the local level and continues through all levels of government. There is no room for complacency, no room for “I didn’t feel like voting” or “I pay my taxes, why should I vote?” or, even worse, “I forgot.” There are people living and working here, paying taxes here, who can’t vote but would like to. Possibly they come from countries where elections aren’t free and open.

Canada was the light at the end of a long tunnel, it represents hope, future, a better life for them and their children. To them, to everyone who believes in democracy, 50 per cent is a slap in the face.

Both the provincial and the local elections have made voting so easy, what with advance polls, mail-in voting, curb-side voting, drive-through voting. The only thing missing was voting while picking up your morning “large double-double.”

The election in our neighbour to the south made very clear – every vote counts. Some states were still too close to call days later. It took days, which is okay. The bottom line is, this is the way democracy works. Not perfect, but the best way of doing things that we presently know.

It shows clearly that every single vote counts. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the results, because every single vote makes a difference.

Everyone talks about “rights” and “privileges” but as citizens we also have duties. Voting is both a privilege and a duty. Use those.

Remembrance Day is coming up. Canadians have sacrificed their lives in many countries around the world defending, among other things, the right for free and fair elections. Not voting is an insult to them and their memory.

Any time you have the chance, vote. Not everyone has this right, this great privilege.

I recently returned here from Switzerland. There, you vote four times a year at all levels of government. Votes are on everything from a referendum about street-cleaning in the community to national elections to international agreements with various states. Any person can start a petition, get enough signatures and force a vote on pretty well anything they feel is important enough, at all levels of government.

As a result, the people have become complacent. Fifty per cent voter turnout is considered good.

In Saskatchewan we’ve had two elections in one year, which is rare. Fifty per cent is an embarrassment.

Not one person in the province had any reason to not vote.

 

Tom Mauss

Estevan

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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