Citizens’ participation key to political process

Our democracy may be flawed but people's efforts are invaluable

After Oct. 19, campaign offices will close and canvassers, phone communicators, sign managers, forum organizers – all who have worked to get their party’s message out to voters – will return to their usual routines. Without these committed volunteers, we could not achieve even the flawed democracy that we have in Canada.

Neither could our democracy be achieved without citizens’ willingness to make donations to chosen parties, put up signs in windows and front lawns, and attend public forums and debates. Citizens’ participation is at the heart of our electoral process.

Those who have served us as candidates especially deserve our appreciation as they have personally given every voter the opportunity to learn about the policy differences between the parties.

Whatever the outcome of the election, volunteers who believe in the values of the party they work for will continue to oil the machinery of our democracy. Riding executives and volunteers will organize public forums with our MPs and ask supporters to help erase 2015 campaign debts.

In previous elections, taxpayer dollars were transferred to each party’s riding association according to the number of votes their candidate received. Harper’s Conservative party, which (like the Liberal party) is richly financed by wealthy donors as well as corporations, ended these taxpayer transfers.

During these last few days before the final vote, there will be a profusion of political advertising – most of it paid for by wealthy donors.

There will be less political advertising paid for by modest-income voters. Despite record participation during this federal campaign, ours is a flawed democracy.

Starla Anderson

Saanich

 

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