The Canadian and I are fortunate that we don’t fight very often but things tend to get a little heated come election time. It’s odd because I would say we both have similar values and political ideals but every now and then a subject will come up where we are polar opposites. The great thing about the modern age is that you no longer need to risk ending up in the spare room after an argument with your spouse about politics. Just head straight to social media, vent your frustrations in the facebook comments on a news article about politics and argue to your heart’s content with random strangers.
Last year though The Canadian asked me to stop arguing with strangers on the internet. Apparently it was making me get fired up and rage. Well yeah, isn’t that kinda the point? He pointed out that on certain topics it wasn’t in a good way but in a stressing me out, obsessive way and then he asked me what did it achieve? He had a point. Nothing besides high blood pressure. He suggested I delete most of the Facebook pages for the news sites I followed so I wouldn’t get triggered and stop arguing with complete strangers on the internet.
He was right.
Calm was restored.
Lately, though I’ve been getting triggered again because you know it, It’s election time.
One of the hardest times to be an expat is during an election. As someone that loves to have an opinion on all things politics, it’s an extra challenging time for me because I’m in expat voting limbo hell. As a permanent resident of Canada but not yet a Citizen I am unable to vote in any of the elections. I pay taxes but can’t actually have any kind of formal vote and say in how those taxes are managed and who and how they are going to spend them. Since our move to Canada, we have had a provincial election and a municipal election that I also couldn’t vote. Back in Australia, I have missed a Federal Election (actually they have had two because they can’t keep a Prime Minister for longer than 5 minutes) that I should have been able to cast a vote from overseas for but didn’t because I accidentally dropped off the electoral roll when we left Australia. Being tortured by a pear of anguish would have been more pleasant than trying to navigate the Australian MyGov website so I have remained off the roll. I am forced to sit on the sidelines and watch the lead up to the election unfold without a voice.
It’s interesting moving to a country with no preconceived ideas or knowledge about the various political parties and with fresh eyes. What really stands out though is the way the campaigns are covered in the mainstream media in Canada without the Murdoch owned media outlets steering the ship like in Australia, America and the United Kingdom. It’s refreshing.
One thing that makes me sad is regardless of the country or the political party, all politicians everywhere are the same. They waffle and lie. They are also not a true representation of the bulk of the people they are actually making decisions on behalf. The only exception was our last local municipal election that did have a true representation of the local constitute but that is because it’s a small town. Every other election without fail I can’t help but think is this really the best of the best whenever I see the candidates.
Yesterday I found myself almost breaking my vow to not fight with random strangers on the internet. One of the local news outlets has been doing a daily interview with each of the local candidates and publishing and sharing it on its Facebook page. As I mentioned I literally have never voted in this country and have absolutely no political leanings to any one particular party. I’m fresh off the boat as they say. Yet, every time I make a comment on an article I get accused of being this or that. The fact is I’m neither. I swing. Not from the rafters swing but a swinging voter. I always have been and always will be. I’ve never understood the argument that if you agree on one issue it automatically makes you a leftie or if you disagree on another issue you are on the right. Whenever it spills out of someone’s mouth as a response I feel so much second-hand embarrassment for the person. It’s a cop-out.
I held up to my end of the bargain though and ignored her comment and kept scrolling but not without first clicking on her profile to confirm that she is indeed bat shit crazy.
Like it’s neighbour to the south, voting in Canada is not compulsory like it is in Australia. I get annoyed when people have the right to vote and don’t use it. Check out these results for the recent election in the province of Manitoba.
Scary isn’t it? Almost as many people didn’t vote than actually voted.
I can see the temptation. You don’t like any of the candidates so you just don’t vote. Well, unfortunately, look at was has happened locally, nationally and internationally when that happens.
As an Australian living in Canada, I look at results like that a think, no brainer. Do as they do in Australia. Change voting from mid-week to a Saturday. Introduce the election cake stall and sausage sizzle. Most importantly make it compulsory for anyone that is enrolled to vote over the age of 18. If not fine them.
Can you imagine my rage when The Canadian who can vote told me that he isn’t going to vote in the upcoming election (and hasn’t voted in any election since we have lived in Canada)
Give me the vote I say. It would give me pleasure knowing that a vote The Canadian makes on my behalf will strike out the vote against the party the old cow that was rude to me makes.
Needless to say, I will drive the Canadian to the polling booth kicking and screaming and if he knows what is good for him he will take note of my voting suggestion, besides he has claimed for years I have sucked out every last bit of his independent thought. Why stop now!
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