Editorial: If they won't vote, then make them

Canada needs to be more proactive — and creative — in getting people to cast a ballot, and the voting age should be lowered, as well

It’s easy to be cynical and apathetic when Canadian politics seem so divided, so full of wedge issues and negativity. But as a newspaper that prides itself on covering elections at all levels of government, it’s a no-brainer that we would prefer people vote than give up their right.

We understand that it’s hard work learning about the different policies and candidates, and there are more fun things to do than watch an all-candidates meeting — ask our reporters.

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But when it comes to how government services are handled, it’s important to have a say, perhaps more so now than ever before.

That’s why we support any effort to get people to the ballot box, whether it be mandatory voting, a statutory holiday to promote voting or free rides to the polls.

Other countries feel the same way, according to a recent article by Mario Canseco that documented Canada’s poor showing during recent federal elections and outlined ways to change it. 

According to Canseco, more than 20 countries have some form of compulsory voting. In Australia, for example, someone can get a $150 fine for not voting if they don’t have a good excuse; in Brazil, adults have to provide a voting receipt to access government services.

We think it’s not a bad idea to tie voting to services in a way that directly reminds people why we have governments and elections in the first place.

We also support lowering the voting age and we disagree with the old trope that young people who don’t pay taxes don’t care about election outcomes. They do care about issues such as climate change and housing affordability, and policies made today on these issues directly affect them for years to come.

It’s time Canada got more proactive and made voting an important part of citizenship by requiring people to take the matter seriously.

If you don’t want to see six candidates shouting over one another in a TV debate, we understand. But there are many other ways to get information that is uniquely targeted to you. For example, The Tri-City News has an extensive library of stories, including details on election platforms, candidate biographies and websites, even candidate videos here on its website. 

As well, this Thursday, Oct. 10 edition of the newspaper contains information about the candidates running in both the Port Moody-Coquitlam and Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam ridings.

With just a little time and effort, you can inform yourself. And in the meantime, tell any politician or supporter who comes to your door that you appreciate the effort that they are making.

Then be sure to get out and vote Oct. 21.

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