Paper on Mandatory Voting in Canada

Mandatory Voting in Canada

“We wish nothing more, but we will accept nothing less. Masters in our own house we must be, but our house is the whole of Canada.” Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada 1968-79 and 1980-84.

Canada is not only known as a nation of democracy, or even a country assorted with different cultures, it is also known for its unity between the people of the nation. Canada, was always a country strongly involved in it’s political life and even the youth was corrupted into the mayhem of the country they belong too. As time leads on, Canada’s nation has become less interested in the governing system they live in. Recently, the number of voters at the polls around the country, are diminishing, causing our nation to question whether “our house”, the “whole of Canada” is still the unity that we hold to our name. In the upbringing of a new law that enforces anyone that is of the legal voting age in Canada(18 and older), must vote during an election period, will help Canada become unified into the political life, youth will be more engaged in politics and the citizens of the Canadian democracy can truly respect and appreciate the advantages we have that include the right to vote.

Although people may be of the opinion that mandatory and forceful voting is not a way of freedom in a democratic government, they must take into consideration that out of 30 governed democracies world wide, their are sixteen that enforce and require their citizens to vote. One of the 16 democratic countries includes Australia, who had been the first country to introduce the law in 1924. Most people ponder that it can be difficult to find time to vote, to find time to follow politics in Canada; yet the citizens of Australia support the law with up to 70 to 80 percent .
“These mandatory voting laws are not the hardship some might claim. Australians do not feel coerced, in fact, polls in Australia show that 70 to 80 per cent of Australians support the mandatory system.” Harb, Mark. The Case for Mandatory Voting in Canada.

If Canada choses to accept the legislation of mandatory voting for it’s citizens, there would be more of a gain then a loss to our nation. Just like paying taxes, attending school until you’ve reached the age of 16 and sitting in on a case as a juror, voting is a civic duty. Citizens are obliged to vote; yet because they’re are no laws enforcing that, citizens choice to not participate is completely tolerated. “Despite the common perception that compulsory voting is rare, it has been used with much success. In fact, thirty democracies around the world claim to have compulsory voting, although a smaller number, sixteen democracies, use it with the level of support and enforcement we are envisioning here in Canada.” Harb, Mark. The Case for Mandatory Voting in Canada. Most citizens have dropped the unity and participation in Canadian politics that it no longer of interest to the majority and especially to the youth today who is governing our nation.

The voting turnout amongst the youth of Canada (eighteen to twenty-four) is the lowest. Only a significant percent (approximately twenty-five percent) of youth had voted in the federal elections in 2000. The decline in the number of youth voters has not changed throughout the years that followed. It is believed that youth that is uninvolved in their countries political system will in the future lack any involvement, participation and historical knowledge towards a just society. It will furthermore, continue to decline the voters as generations pass on. Leaving our nation with lower percentages of voters and fewer citizens knowing about the political society that controls them.

The youth that is growing into the Canadian political society, is the most informed generations that are also the most up to date with current needs and issues that are developing. The aging population are more knowledgeable on past needs rather then present, are lacking the knowledge of technology, education and basic needs to a developing lifestyle in Canada. The younger population does not have the capacity to comprehend the needs of individuals who support themselves due to their lack of knowledge of the politics behind their own lifestyle (i.e minimum wage, taxes). Therefore the importance of voting in youth is critical to the future of politics. If the country were under law of mandatory voting the youth would be inclined to know something about politics.

“Voter turnout is lowest amongst the youth vote. Approximately twenty-five percent of eligible voters aged 18 – 24 voted in the 2000 federal election. Moreover, studies have indicated that many youth who don’t vote remain uninvolved in the political system, and do not voting when they get older. One way of increasing voter turnout, therefore, is to encourage electoral participation amongst Canadian youths.” Parkinson, Rhonda.Voter Turnout in Canada

Voting is one of the largest elements to the political engagement our citizens in Canada have. In the democratic society that Canada has it is crucial that citizens do go out and vote when election time comes around. The appreciation and respect for our democratic society is obscured to the point where Canadian citizens have no understanding of how fortunate the Canadian nation is being a democratic society and having the freedom to do little things that we find time consuming, voting.

Countries like Afghanistan have been trying to become a newly democratic country. These past couple of years the UN has been trying to reconstruct the Afghan nation, yet with the constant threats of Taliban threatening to bomb or kill anyone who participates in elections, voting or re-deeming the country has made the process extremely difficult. Yet, even with their lives in danger, the Afghan people escape their homes from the feeling of captivity just to place a letter “X” on papers to ensure their countries reaches freedom.

“So, the fourth nationwide election to be held in post-Taliban Afghanistan suffered from violence, fraud and a record low turnout. Why then the rapturous praise from the international community? The election was manifestly inadequate. But, they say, it could have been even worse.” Voting in Afghanistan: Low bar | The Economist.

Mandatory voting also “equalizes participation and removes bias from less-privileged citizens” "Compulsory vs Voluntary Voting." Cam Riley. Meaning that no matter what social status, no matter what nationality, race or gender, as a Canadian citizen you are enforced to cast your a vote, cast a voice in how you want your government to be governed. With only sixty percent, 40 percent, anything but 90% and up, a Canadian citizen is allowing someone to speak up for them, is allowing a certain amount of the population to control the government. With less people voting the smaller portion of people that are, are speaking on behalf of the entire Canadian population. Making voting mandatory will only in-strict the process of getting Canadian citizens into the flow, the movement of controlling their government once again.

The lack of publicity can have a huge affect as well on why Canadian citizens lack the interest of politics. Political parties are allegedly not hitting the target audience, disregarding the areas where they lack voters, or simply not increasing the interest of politics to their citizens. For example, reaching out to the youth by attending college or university campus’ would be a prime place to encourage the youth to be a part of the political system, to ensure that they know what they want from their government and to have a voice in their nation. Or the decline in the middle age class of citizens who don’t have the time or effort to follow along their government. Political parties need to increase the interest of politics to every citizen that is of legal voting age. Mandatory voting may forcefully increase the interest of politics to citizens, causing them to pay attention to the ads, and follow the campaign of each political party.

In conclusion, the fact that Canadian politicians must consider approving a law that makes it mandatory for Canadian citizens to vote is unfortunate. Just to think their are people world-wide who are still under strict authority such as communism, and can only dream of having the rights and freedoms Canadians have. Mandatory voting would strictly allow the youth to have more of a view point of the political system and the beginnings of their involvement can lead to a future of a steady number of voters in Canada. In the upbringing of a new law that enforces anyone that is of the legal voting age in Canada(18 and older), must vote during an election period, will help Canada become unified into the political life, youth will be more engaged in politics and the citizens of the Canadian democracy can truly respect and appreciate the advantages they have that include the right to vote.

Works Cited

"Australian Electoral Commission: Voting." 30 Sept. 2008. Web. .

"CBC News - World - Polling stations open in Afghanistan." - Canadian News Sports Entertainment Kids Docs Radio TV. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. .

"Compulsory Voting | International IDEA." International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. .

"Compulsory vs Voluntary Voting." Cam Riley :: South Sea Republic. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.> Harb, Mark. "The Case for Mandatory Voting in Canada." 11 Sept. 2010. Web. .

Parkinson, Rhonda. "Voter Turnout in Canada |" | Canada's Premier Political Education Website! 1 Mar. 2007. Web. 11 Nov. 2010. .

"Voting in Afghanistan: Low bar | The Economist." The Economist - World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. .