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Greater Victoria, BC News

ARTICLE

Date ArticleType
8/14/2015 Published Article
Nine Votes Can Make a Difference

Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Trans Pacific Partnership. Affordable housing. What is each party’s stance on these as well as the plethora of other federal-level issues that potentially affect your business, community and quality of life? Do you have confidence in that party’s local candidate? What about its national leader? So many variables to consider!

A successful democracy takes work. We need an electorate to be engaged and informed to shape the future of our country and community.

Canadians are currently in the midst of the longest federal election campaign in history. You may have opportunities to meet your local candidates or even your federal party leaders. With the click of a button you can view party platforms, watch leaders debates or ask candidates questions directly via social media.

A recent poll conducted by Ipsos Reid has all three major parties in a three-way race. Based on past election results and current predictions, British Columbia has a number of ridings that could be the deciding factor in who forms our next federal government.

Make no mistake about it - your vote matters!

In the last federal election, there was less than one per cent difference in number of votes between NDP and Conservative candidates in the riding of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. One federal constituency lost an incumbent by only nine ballots.

In that same election, B.C.'s estimated voter turnout was 55.9 percent, just below the national figure of 58.5 percent. A slight - 0.06 percent - increase over 2008, but younger electors are still voting at a lower rate than older ones.

Before we all go to the polls October 19, we have the time to become informed to make the most of our vote, even help others to do the same.

Exploring the opportunities, educating yourself on the process, preparing yourself to ensure your vote counts doesn’t have to end in heated debate, nor does it have to be done in isolation. There are others, especially the younger electorate, who could benefit from your viewpoint.

Yes, the "fearsome foursome," namely sex, money, religion and politics, can be controversial topics. Avoiding the conversation means avoiding the meaningful issues at stake. That isn’t a plan for success.

Voting is an important life skill that you can help develop in others, regardless of age. The more knowledgeable you are, the easier it can become to engage others in meaningful political discourse without touching on the underlying hot-button topics. Make the most of your vote - be informed, make your vote count.

By Bruce Carter, Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

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