It seems as though Canada’s political situation has been getting progressively worse over the years. Our electoral system is inequitable and we all know it. No wonder voter apathy runs high.
We badly need electoral reform but we won’t get it as long as “all the usual suspects” get elected every time. Of course they have no incentive for electoral reform. The inequity in the current system is what keeps re-electing them. Canadians are least likely to vote in municipal elections, even though municipal politicians have the most direct control over our lives. Quite often municipal incumbents aren’t elected, they’re acclaimed because nobody will run against them. This often leads to, shall we say, less than optimal local government.
Women’s right to vote in Canada
Widows and unmarried women were granted the right to vote in municipal elections in Ontario in 1884. SUCH limited franchises were extended in other provinces at the end of the 19th century, but bills to enfranchise women in provincial elections failed to pass in any province until Manitoba finally succeeded in 1916. At the federal level it was a two step process. On Sept. 20, 1917, women gained a limited right to vote: According to the Parliament of Canada website, the Military Voters Act established that “women who are British subjects and have close relatives in the armed forces can vote on behalf of their male relatives, in federal elections.” About a year and a quarter later, at the beginning of 1919, the right to vote was extended to all women in the Act to confer the Electoral Franchise upon Women. The remaining provinces quickly followed suit, except for Quebec, which did not do so until 1940. Agnes Macphail became the first woman elected to Parliament in 1921.
Status Indians were not granted the vote in Canada until 1960. They could only vote if they gave up their Status rights.
And back in 1884 women lost their right to a municipal vote if they married.
And of course, in less democratic times and governments, nobody got a vote. Except the monarch, or dictator.
Monday is election day in Ontario.
You can learn more about the Ontario Municipal Elections
A friend sent around an email saying:
Many people think that municipal elections are a waste of time, even though municipal government is the level of government you deal with most often. Many of you may not even know who your town or regional councilor is.
Well, it’s time to change that. I challenge each and every one of you to not only get out and vote yourselves, but to get your friends, neighbors, family, even your enemies out to vote. Offer encouragement. Offer rides to those who need them. Discuss the candidates, and the issues. Do whatever you can to help people to exercise their franchise.
I’ve started a Facebook group for those who use Facebook.
If you are on a different social media site, start your own group. Encourage others to do the same.
Turnout for municipal elections in Ontario is terrible. Let’s do something about that!
If you don’t know who’s who or what they stand for, chances are your local paper will have profiles/interviews. And of course you can always Google the names you see on local lawn signs. Check it out, there’s still time!
We all need to start exercising our franchise at every level of government.