If you’re from Ontario, chances are you’ve heard about the upcoming provincial election. When I turned 18 last year, the thing I was most excited about by far was the fact I could finally vote! I’ve always been an advocate for youth being involved and letting people hear their voices, and it was my turn, so you’ll definitely see me at the polls June 7th!
This isn’t a post about who I’m voting for, who you’re voting for, or any other things like that. Women in politics, equity in politics, and youth in politics in something very important to me, since I believe that if we truly want to strive for equality, all voices should be heard. We are extremely lucky to live in a country where we have power in choosing who governs us and, that we can voice our political opinions freely. Unfortunately, there are many places that still restrict these rights for their citizens, and in many cases, restricting this from women. Even in Canada, women were not allowed to vote until the early 20th century. It boggles my mind that my parents lived in a time where women couldn’t vote just a few decades before. First Nations people could not vote in elections unless they gave up their status and treaty rights up until 1960, only then could they vote without fear of losing their rights. This is one of the reasons I feel so strongly about marginalized and oppressed communities voting. Our voices were silenced for so many years, and this is one of the ways we can reclaim our power. I also have always encouraged youth to get their voices heard, even when they are not eligible to vote yet.
I am not exaggerating when I say that the youth are the future. We will be the ones to inherit this world and take care of it till we pass it on to the generations after us. It makes me sad when I hear teenagers and young adults say they don’t know enough to vote, or they simply don’t care. Youth have so much power, and there are still adults today who don’t realize that, or perhaps, don’t want to. It’s evident, and we have been seeing across North America today. Thousands rallied for the March for Our Lives, started by a group of high school students. I get so excited when I see youth speaking up and taking the first steps in changing the world. I love seeing youth grow more accepting and educated, seeing them stand up for groups that they might not even be a part of. The youth who make an effort to make a difference are the ones that the coming generations will look up to, and that gives me so much hope. This is why I encourage everyone to let their voice be heard, and speak for what they believe in. Not only this but understand the importance of being knowledgeable about current events and issues in our world. Understand the importance of educating oneself. This translates to politics on a local, provincial, and national scale.
So, how can you vote in the upcoming election? First, you must be 18 years of age and a resident of both Canada and Ontario. If you are, you’ll need to register to become a voter. Information on this can be found at the e-Registration website. Unsure who to vote for? Do your research! However, I can’t stress how important it is to ensure that the information you’re receiving is accurate and unbiased. I’m never one to say any political party is perfect, but a biased editorial or an article from a tabloid can spread misleading, and in some cases, false information. We’ve all heard about “fake news”, and unfortunately this is what happens sometimes! This can come from either side as well, it can be overly positive, or it can be overly negative, whichever benefits the side at hand. Start by looking at your ridings candidates, and what they stand for. Get out to town hall meetings, debates, and other events happening in your community. See what each candidate has to offer. Next, you can look into the provincial party leader, and read up on their opinions on current issues. Think about their platforms, and how they could affect you personally, but also don’t be afraid to think about how they will affect others. I try to look at things considering what can benefit everyone, so that’s something I’d take into consideration. If you’re looking for a starting point, here is a “cheat sheet” of sorts from Maclean’s, but make sure that you do further research on points that are important to you! And who knows, maybe you’ll even decide to not vote, as many do. If that’s the case, I still encourage youth to be educated on the issues at hand, even if they decide they don’t want to vote.
Thank you so much for reading!
Til Next Time