To vote

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Today was one of three days of advance polling for the upcoming Canadian federal election, formally held at the beginning of May. My wife Air urged me to go, so we did.

She drove us down to our local high school gym and it was an easy in and out, slowed mostly by my glacial pace behind my cane. It was also a test to see if I might make it to my ENT specialist Monday, possibly (really, I wonder now?) to have my voice returned to me after weeks of laryngitis. And perhaps I might.

But for now, it was to vote. In our parliamentary system, an election can come almost any time. The advance polls fall somewhat arbitrarily too, this time on Easter weekend. (Don't forget the mail-in ballots as well, if you miss voting in person.) We pick one candidate, to represent us in our riding (i.e. electoral district), and also to represent his or her political party to us. It's very much how things work in Britain, and not at all how they work in the U.S.A.

The leader of the party who wins more ridings than any other becomes the Prime Minister, and effectively heads the country. That can get complicated if his or her party wins more, but not a majority.

It's the way we work it in Canada. Yet I've voted in every municipal, provincial, and federal election I could. My point is, sick as I am, I researched the issues, the candidates, the leaders, and the party platforms on what was important to me. I grabbed some shoes and shuffled to the car, walked into the gym, signed a form, and voted.

If I can drag myself out to vote—and that's not metaphorical, because I did have to fucking drag myself out of the car and up the stairs at times—then you can too. If you're a Canadian citizen, you have the duty, and plenty of chances.

So damn well do it.


There is something magical about casting a ballot.
(even if my preferred party languishes a distant 5th...)
We voted today too. In East Van. So cool you did too!
Peace and love to you and your family Derek,

Derek, as always, you are freaking amazing! If you can get out and vote, anyone can! Thank you for caring. You rock. :)

You can be sure I will.

Derek, it would be great if those who don't bother to vote had even a fraction of the courage you do - I can't fathom why they don't get out to vote when for the vast majority of them it would require so little effort on their part compared with what you've been faced with.

My wife, Katherine, and I will be voting in the advance poll today - other commitments kept us from going yesterday.

Looks like you passed the test! Fingers crossed about your voice. And I feel exactly the same way about voting, thanks for expressing it so articulately.

I can't vote in a Canadian election as I am not yet a Canadian citizen, but I sure as hell am encouraging anyone who listens to me and CAN vote to do so, particularly my students at UBC (who, as political scientists, are more interested in voting than anyone I know, I might add). Thanks for this, Derek. As Beth said (and I'm sure you hear repeatedly because it's true), YOU ROCK.

You rock, Derek. I feel so passionate about this subject. I don't understand why so many people take this right for granted. As Japanese-Canadians, my grandparents were in their 40s before they were allowed to vote -- and they were born in Canada! (Steveston, BC, to be exact). If I didn't vote, I'd feel like I would be insulting their memory. If I didn't vote, I'd feel like I wasn't doing my duty as a parent since the actions of today's government shapes the kind of future my children will live in.

It's voting day today!

I think today I will try to vote BEFORE work this timeā€¦ last time was such an awful gong show.

After your heroic effort, ANYONE of sound mind, conscious and breathing can certainly do it!

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