Politics in Canada: You have more power than you think

Your vote is your voice; let them hear you

Queen’s Park Bill 70, Schedule 17 Rally, November 2017

Queen’s Park Bill 70, Schedule 17 Rally, November 2017

As citizens of a democratic nation, we have the power to create real change in our politics and in our communities that we build, service and live in. With an increasingly volatile political environment and a federal election fast approaching, now is a great time to step up and exercise your civic duty.  

The Canadian labour movement and those within it are historically recognized for their participation and influence in politics. Fighting for the working class since the mid-1800s, union members are well known for their political activism. Demonstrations, rallies, strikes: these are the actions and sacrifices that have secured the labour standards that we enjoy today. No government has ever chosen to improve labour laws and employment standards for workers without the constant lobbying and political action of labour unions.

There are many ways you can participate in the democratic process. Here are a few steps you can take to become more politically active, because yes – you can make a difference.

The Canadian labour movement and those within it are historically recognized for their participation and influence in politics. Fighting for the working class since the mid-1800s, union members are well known for their political activism.
Queen’s Park Bill 70, Schedule 17 Rally, November 2017

Queen’s Park Bill 70, Schedule 17 Rally, November 2017

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

We live in an age where it has never been easier to find out what’s going on in the world around us. Through television, internet and print media, we have vast amounts of information at our fingertips, but we must ensure that we judge on policy and not the rhetoric that happens between parties through the media. It’s time to utilize these resources: follow your local news, and read up on candidate websites and social media pages. You can even take quizzes online to see which political party you align with. 

Learn the names and faces of your local politicians and ask the questions that mean the most to you and your family. You must decide what is most important to you politically and decide who best represents your values as an elected official, based on their policies. These are the people who are making the important decisions that affect you and your family’s day-to-day lives. 

Whether it’s health care, equity, climate change or cost of living, decide what matters to you and learn where each candidate stands on these issues. 

IBEW 353 Sisters in the Trades at the Women’s March

IBEW 353 Sisters in the Trades at the Women’s March

2. GET ACTIVE

Joining your local riding association and volunteering your time for a candidate is a great way to be proactive, get involved and meet like-minded individuals. If you’re looking to volunteer for a local candidate’s campaign but are not sure what is involved, here are some examples of what you can do as a volunteer: 

  • Participate in a campaign literature drop

  • Knock on doors to explain the party’s policies and provide background information on the candidate

  • Phone constituents from the campaign headquarters using scripts provided by campaign managers 

  • Install lawn signs for candidates

  • Talk politics as frequently and as much as you can with family, friends and even strangers. You’ll discover that as working-class citizens, we’re all on the same page and share very similar values.

You can generally sign up to volunteer by visiting the campaign office or signing up on the candidate’s website. 

Political canvassing

Political canvassing

3. GET OUT AND VOTE

Casting a ballot is the most fundamental way that we can influence governmental decision-making and change laws. Voting is your right as a citizen of this country and it is your civic duty to use it. 

Before election day arrives, make sure you’re registered to vote. Identify your electoral district and find out where your designated polling station is.  

Elections Canada is a great resource for new voters. Visit their website at www.elections.ca or your nearest Elections Canada office to learn everything you need to know about the electoral process. If you’re unable to make it out to the polls on election day, find out when the advanced polls are open or learn more about voting by mail or at your local Elections Canada office. 

When the federal election arrives this October, don’t sit back with indifference. Those who do not participate in the democratic process have no right to complain about the outcome and the repercussions. 

It’s time to step up and stand for what you believe in. We must fight for our vision of the future.