Prior to the elections of Canada in 2015, I was conversing with a friend of mine apropos the arising issues that might affect us as Canadian citizens. My friend was telling me how she was distraught by Prime minster Harper’s policies and ideals. I explained to her how she can take a stance through the upcoming elections but she disagreed and explained to me how she thinks her voice will not make a difference. She went on a rant expressing how many of her friends do not believe in voting. The issue here is that if everyone came up with an excuse to justify not voting, we as citizens will not be represented fairly and will not be able to convey our demands. In a Democratic society such as Canada, the right to vote is considered a staple of our society. Voting is a central pillar of democracy. Thus, aside from taxation and jury duty, voting must become a mandatory civic duty to every capable citizen. Compulsory voting gives us a high degree of political legitimacy, bestows a more stable well represented government, and it prevents the disenfranchisement of the socially disadvantaged. Through mandatory voting we become active citizens influencing our government to act upon our society’s values, morals and common good. As Canadian citizens we are entitled to our rights and freedoms however, certain ’civic duties’ exist that every member of our democratic society must uphold. Among these, voting is probably the most crucial to the successful operation of a democratic society.
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A very controversial topic in the United States is whether or not Americans should be required to vote. Voting is a very essential piece to democracy, but many Americans today are not attending their voting location and supporting the candidate they feel is best. In recent elections, just 60% of registered voters casted their vote for a candidate. This is an issue that many people are not happy about, but whether or not there is reason to fix it is the other side to the case. Voter participation is an issue that has been going on for years, and no laws are in place currently to bring it up. Americans have been proud to live in a “free country”, and a law forcing citizens to vote may be against America’s principles. Compulsory voting should
“The spirit of democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has to come from within”. (Gandhi) A lawful and fair democracy is one that represents the people, where the will of the people is done not where the government’s will is enforced. Here in Canada we believe a democratic government is well suited for its people but like any other system it has its flaws. This country was a model democracy. Canada’s wealth, respect for legal, human and civil rights almost promises that this country has the potential to uphold a legitimate democracy. Reading headlines today concerning the state of democracy in Canada we can see how our political system is slipping. A democracy should uphold the rights of its people rather than the rights of a
The debate over compulsory vs. non-compulsory voting is a complex subject matter to say the least, that has sparked much controversy in recent times with almost all strongly in favor of one side of the argument and or the other. This highly polarized debate has sparked in popularity in recent times because of a quote by former president Barak Obama in which he said that “It would be transformative if everybody voted”. It is believed that if everyone voted that could and was eligible then the domination of hard core partisans within the political system would be in part quelled as the candidates went where the votes are, which would be away from the extremes. Moreover some studies show that mandatory voting decreases the rates of uninformed voters within an area as voting becomes more of a civic duty than right. While the institution of compulsory voting would have a short term effect of increasing the rate of uninformed voters,
The electoral system in Canada is also known as a “first past the post” system. “First past the post” means the candidate with the highest number of votes wins the congressional seat, whereas the other candidates with a lower number of votes don’t get any representation. There are many cons to this system that will be highlighted throughout this essay. I will argue that the electoral system requires reform due to the discrepancies between the percentage of popular votes and the number of seats won. Canada’s electoral system has many problems and is not seen as fully democratic since it has provided poor representation for both candidates that win and lose. Candidates can win seats with less than 50% of votes, meaning that even if the majority of the nation, or province did not vote for the candidate they still win the election as they consume the highest number of votes among the parties. FPTP allows two people in different ridings to get the same number of votes with the outcome of one winner since the distribution of votes and seats are unequal. The system can also encourage strategic voting such as not voting for whom you think is the best fit but voting for the candidate that seems most likely to win in order to beat candidate you dislike. FPTP leads to an imbalance of power and has the potential for corruption.
Voting in many countries is held in different ways. In The United States of America, voting is voluntary while the Australian citizen has to vote, it is compulsory. When an Australian citizen does not vote they receive a fine. Compulsory voting has now become a large political issue for many countries. Great Britain has seen a dramatic decline in the number of people voting in the last 15 years (Singh, 2014) and compulsory voting has become a large political and social debate. However, as with any political change, there are strengths and weaknesses. The Australian system is an excellent one to analyse as the question has to be asked when introducing compulsory voting what are the long term democratic, economic and social issues? Four key points can be outlined to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the Australian compulsory voting system. The first, compulsory voting provides a clear and accurate representation of an entire electorate. Additionally, this system may influence an increase in support for the leftist policy in a current democratic institution. Another key issue to consider is, does an active and informed citizen have a moral duty and obligation to vote to protect and further society? Key constitutional changes brought about by referendums can prove that compulsory voting is essential and needed in society for every vote to count. Lastly, compulsory voting when being a secret ballot can turn into a more compulsory “turn up” for many citizens as they can
To every political system there are many positives and negatives and one critique of compulsory voting systems is that informal and uninterested voting is increased. It has been advocated that compulsory voting brings a large amount of “uninterested voters” to the polls and in turn cast votes that are clearly inconsistent with their own political values compared to those who are more informed and motivated voluntary voters (Selb and Latchat, 2009). In this case the primary concern is when people are forced to vote they will either pick a candidate at random or spoil their ballot which consequently, does not make the outcome of the election representative of the people’s interests. If certain individuals are not interested in politics they should not be forced to contribute in one of the most salient political statements practiced in Canada (Selb and Latchat, 2009). They have the right to choose their level of political participation.
In our system of government we are privileged with the option to take part in the political process that runs the country. It is our right to vote that lets the people influence change in policy and set the guidelines that politicians must follow to be elected representatives. This precious ability, which is most coveted in most non-democratic countries, is taken for granted in our own.
According to Elections Canada (2011), the right to vote is a major equitable right that is ensured by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is the foundation of democracy. When we vote, we pick the representatives who will make the laws and strategies that represent how we live together. The authenticity of an administration lies in the way that it is chosen. Low voter turnouts may call into inquiry the legitimacy of authority. While democracy includes a great deal holding elections every five years, voting is an effective approach to make an impression on governments and legislators. The more votes, the more compelling the message is. Ultimately, each vote counts. To vote in Canada at any level of government, you must be a Canadian citizen. (“Why Should I Vote”, 2011) As a result, masses of adults who reside in Canada are denied the right to vote because they are not Canadian citizens. There is no question that the status of citizenship has been contested since the migration trend in Canada soared the past 20 years. (Siemiatycki, 2011) These residents work, pay local taxes, use city services, send their children to school but cannot vote. (Munro, 2008) Giving non-citizens voting rights would give permanent residents an opportunity to participate in decisions made on local services and issues, fostering a sense of
Canada’s friendly neighbor to the South, the US, has an electoral system that is composed of 3 separate elections, one of them deciding the head of state. The president elected by the people and he or she is the determining person of the country’s political system. In the US runs like a majority system” In Canada, however, elections are held slightly differently. Citizens vote for a Member of Parliament in a 308-seat house and candidates win not by a majority, unlike in the US, but by a plurality. This means that a candidate can actually win by simply having more votes than the other candidates. This method of representative democracy, in general, does not cause too much controversy in a global scope but has
Voting is the chance to contribute to the political process, and the framework was made to work best when everybody partakes. Along these lines, utilizing your entitlement to vote is not only an expansion to the voter turnout insights distributed by each significant media site (which reliably demonstrate seniors as having the most astounding voter turnout - time for the young to lift it up). Your vote really matters and the country needs and needs to hear your feeling. We live in a vote based system (a term utilized delicately as a part of our general public). A democracy is a system of government in which the entirety of the population participates. So, participate all the time.
With all this in mind, there is no way to deny the progress made by Canada in addressing the voter turnout issue in these 2015 elections and in order to keep this trend and even improve it, there are so many ways to encourage citizens for Canada to achieve a daily democracy contributing to an healthy political environment. Because of historical and situational factors, Canada had a democratic deficit manifested by discouragement and a lack of participation in political activities from citizens, that had lasted for one decade but now, times have changed and Canada is living a revolution with a higher participation in the 2015 elections that shows the clear will of Canadian citizens to get involved in political activities, act for the change and defend the democracy they cherish.
There is a fundamental problem with the democratic process in Canada. This problem is rooted within our electoral system. However, there is a promising solution to this issue. Canada should adopt the mixed-member proportional representation electoral system (MMP) at the federal level if we wish to see the progression of modern democracy. The failure to do so will result in a stagnant political system that is caught in the past and unable to rise to the contemporary challenges that representative democracies face. If Canada chooses to embrace the MMP electoral system it will reap the benefits of greater proportionality, prevent the centralization of power that is occurring in Parliament and among political parties through an increased
Voting is very essential and one of the easiest methods to influence public policy. You just need to be registered, and go to a polling station. It is simple because the government encourages people to vote, to hear a broad range of opinions. It is a form of direct democracy because when you vote, it directly affects the side or issue you support. Your vote is one more supporting opinion for a candidate or issue that is counted. Some people may think that their vote won’t make a big difference, but if you look at it from another perspective it can impact smaller and local issues. Although voting is imperative because you are given this privilege at the age of 18, it is not the end of one’s ability to influence government, but rather the beginning.
Mandatory voting has been a topic of debate in democratic countries since the creation of democratic republics themselves. Voting is a crucial part of democracy because it determines who will be the leaders of both the voters and nonvoters. It is the right of a citizen to vote, but whether or not it is the responsibility remains disputed. However, voting must be performed with a basic understanding of policy and what it takes for someone to fit the role which they are running for. Voting should not be compulsory because it results in more uneducated voting that counteracts the educated voting.
Many may concede that voting is a civic duty; however, researching the candidate you vote for is necessary to be an informed voter. I would include that as an obvious corollary to the basic duty. However, one shouldn’t conclude that voters with whom one disagrees are necessarily ignorant and uninformed except to the extent that we all are in certain ways. I’d much rather have an apathetic non-voter than an apathetic voter. I am not talking here about people who don’t vote on principle, but on people who are not voting because they have no interest in political social issues. We overcome apathy by staying informed. Reading a local newspaper, following social media, or watching the news on television helps to build the connective tissue among us and helps to reinforce the words in the Constitution that “We the People” matter-- that we are indeed a "we" and are all in this together. And that "we" are responsible for speaking up in the face of injustice.