Make Your Vote Count for the 2019 Federal Elections
With less than a week until the 2019 Canadian federal election day, citizens and residents from coast to coast are buzzing about who our next Prime Minister and elected Members of Parliament will be. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a political aficionado, you have likely seen political lawn signs in your neighbourhood, heard about the federal leaders debate or perhaps your Thanksgiving dinner was filled with hot-topic discussions on election issues and party policies.
This all goes to say that the election and the conversations that arise from it are all around us, and for many people, it has a significant impact on our day-to-day lives and our future. This impact is one of the reasons why it is important to vote—the future of Canadian democracy depends largely on the power of its citizens’ voices and votes! Here are some key points on how to make your vote count for the 2019 Federal Elections:
Understand the electoral process
Canada’s political system allows voters to elect a local candidate in their residing neighbourhood (electoral district) to become a Member of Parliament (MP). This MP then represents the electoral district in the House of Commons. MP’s are often associated with federal parties (e.g. Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Green); the federal party leader that gets the most seats in parliament becomes Prime Minister. This means that at the voting station, you will not directly vote for the Prime Minister; rather, you will vote for a local MP who will represent your neighbourhood in parliament, and whose associated party will determine which federal leader becomes Prime Minister.
Research, research, research!
Determine which political party or candidate stands for what you believe in: How you commute to work, how taxes get deducted from your paycheck, and how you access healthcare services all relate to politics and policies. If you’ve ever felt frustrated about housing affordability, lack of child care services or where your tax dollars are going, now is the time to speak out and find out which local party candidate can best represent your interests and concerns in parliament. Online tools such as Vote Compass and Pollenize make it easy to explore how your views align with the main political parties. You can also find out who your local party candidates are, check out their individual platforms, and even call their office.
Determine your voting eligibility
To register and vote in a federal election, you must be a Canadian citizen aged 18 or older on election day, and provide acceptable proof of identity and address. If you are eligible to vote but did not receive a voter registration letter or information card in the mail, you can check your voter registration online. Once you are registered, find your election day polling place (voting station); don’t forget to bring ID that proves your identity and address with you!
Recognize other ways of political engagement
If you find that you are ineligible to vote, recognize that there are other ways of involvement to make your voice heard. Whether you are a permanent resident of Canada, or an international student studying here temporarily, the results of the elections can still have an impact on you, making it just as important to stay informed and engaged. Share information about policies you’ve researched on through social media, talk to friends and colleagues about it, or consider volunteering to support a local candidate. Need some inspiration? Check out the work that local young immigrant and refugee leaders are doing through the #LostVotesYVR campaign, which advocates for the rights of permanent residents to vote.
Election Day is Monday, October 21, and voting hours at polling places in Metro Vancouver are open from 7:00am - 7:00pm. If you still need a source of inspiration, consider supporting the YWCA with your vote. Did you know that almost all our Programs and Services are connected to public policies? Skyrocketing child care costs, high rates of gender-based violence, and substantial gender wage gaps can all be addressed in parliament through the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament. We hope that you keep gender equality and women’s rights in mind when you head to the polls next Monday!