So let's set the tone with a piece about a theme you're not likely to read anywhere else!
Now that a federal election is on, get ready to be bombarded with sanctimonious entreaties by the government and the media reminding us of our civic duty to vote.
According to Elections Canada, the agency spent in excess of 90 million dollars trying to convince Canadians to vote in the 2008 federal general election.
It doesn't seem that the campaign was particularly successful as the turnout fell off rather dramatically from elections in the past with just 59% of Canadians exercising their franchise, which represented a 10% drop from the previous election.
Do we really need Elections Canada wasting money reminding us about what we already know?
How many non-voters the Elections Canada campaign convinced to cast a ballot can never be determined, but it can't possibility be that many.
Even using an overly generous estimate of 5% of the 14 million votes cast, it means that the government spent in excess of $130.00 of taxpayer money on each of those that they actually convinced to vote!
That's a lot of dough to convince someone to do something that should come naturally to anyone interested in the society that they live in.
Another great big waste of money.
In fact, it's actually a very bad idea to convince someone who is not really interested to vote, to do so through guilt or a bribe.
Does the Elections Canada ideal, where every eligible voter actually casts a ballot, serve the better interests of our nation, more than leaving the political decisions to those who are self-motivated to vote?
While I'll defend to the death everyone's right to vote, that doesn't mean I want to encourage idiots and morons to do so. I'd be happier if they stayed at home and left the decision to those more capable of making an informed decision.
Of course not voting is considered a sign of poor citizenship, something I vehemently disagree with. If someone determines that they aren't up to the task or that they don't care who is elected, why should they vote, just to satisfy some democratic fantasy of those who care?
If we truly live in a democratic society where personal choice is respected, the decision not to cast a ballot must be respected as is the decision to vote.
Lets consider this burlesque scenario;
An Elections Canada official is wandering down an Ottawa street and spots a bum propped up against the wall, one hand proffering a tin cup for spare change and the other wrapped tightly around a bottle tightly ensconced in a brown paper bag from which he partakes a sip or two every few minutes.
Arrghhhhh.!!!!!!..............."Pardon me sir, do you know that there is a federal election coming up?""Huh""Yes sir, its not only your right to vote, but you civic duty as well!""Spare any change?""I'll tell you what, if you vote, I'll give you $130.00""Wha??""That's right, 130 bucks, it won't take more than half a hour.""How do I vote?""I'll take you to the polling station, where you'll put an mark on a ballot by the name of the candidate of your choice."I can't read""Doesn't matter, go "Eeny-Meany-Miney-Moe".. It's the act of voting that is empowering!""130 Bucks you say, I'll do it!.......... By the way, can you give me an advance?"
I like to think of the voting dynamic, comparable to a group of friends going out for Chinese food.
Seated around the table you have all types. Some are adroit and well-informed in the art of Chinese food, others are not so sure and still others are clueless and some aren't even fond of Chinese food. Invariably those in the know offer to do the ordering.
This is a relief to those who are ambivalent, clueless or just don't care. "Go ahead, order whatever!"
Would you really want the idiots in the second group to take part in the ordering? Would it really be helpful?
In the United States 29% of the people can't name their vice-president. In Canada we are no better.
Should these people have the right to vote?
Should they be encouraged to vote? Hmmmm.....NOT SO SURE!