We vote for all kinds of reasons. We vote to support a candidate, we vote for the policies of a particular party, we vote because we like the leader of a party and sometimes we vote to stop particular candidates, parties and their leaders. Is one reason more valid than another? I don’t know.
I do know that sometimes there is a fine line between acknowledging reality and making a conscientious decision as opposed to going along with popular opinion and letting fear dictate your way. And this is why before I vote I step back and think about what kind of city, province, country and even world is it that I want to live in, to take part in, to grow old in? And then I look to see which of the policies by which of the parties running comes closest to my ideal. Because we all know, that my ideal, is simply that… an ideal. But, I’d rather choose to create my own ideal to measure others by than settle for what is being offered. It gives me something to work towards and raises my expectations. It’s a good thing.
So what do I want? I want a party that is serious about climate change. I’ve watched what has been happening to our planet for decades now, and I do think it’s time we re-thought our strategy: there really is no Plan(et) B.
I want a progressive economic platform that ensures we continue to invest in new technologies and people. We need a progressive growing economy.
I want people to be treated as I like to be treated. This means things like having clean water, clean air, knowing what’s in our food, a healthcare sector that supports wellness as well as those who are ill, and a justice system that is well, just.
I want talented people to take part in their communities to the best of their abilities. Life has taught me many lessons, chief among them, that success is closely tied to opportunity and that we do not live in a level playing field. I, and many of my friends, benefitted from equal opportunity legislation in the 1980’s, but pay equity still eludes many. Policy is important.
I want my daughter, a single mom juggling work and post-secondary education to succeed. I know she is bright and has much to offer and that if it weren’t for the support she has been given to date, her life and the life of my grandson would be much harder. I suppose this means I want an inclusive society, one where those willing to work hard are given an opportunity to participate to their fullest. Of course, this means I want my country to also be open to people looking to build good lives, good communities and a good Canada, regardless of where they come from. I am after all first generation Canadian, the child of immigrants.
As someone who writes about grief, I know the power of words and how they can change our understanding, make us feel less alone, and make us more compassionate beings. Freedom of speech is very important to me. Many in the world do not enjoy this privilege. In a time where ‘fake news’ and ‘hate news’ has so openly become part of the dialogue, it is all the more important that vetted news and educated voices are heard.
As a woman and a feminist I am pro-choice. The decision to bring a child into this world is a serious one. I have no right to make it for another and do not believe others should make such life changing decisions unilaterally. Only, she who is pregnant can guess at the implications that ending a pregnancy or giving birth will have on her life. And I know her guess would be better than mine.
Compassion. I want policy to reflect compassion. I’ve watched for days as the bodies of four people I loved shut down bit by bit until they ceased to breath. This conversation cannot be over.
I want Canada to grow, to be strong, to create a way of life that, not only adapts to the changing circumstances we live in, but thrives. I know it will be messy at times. Nothing is built perfectly the first time. But, I believe that if we learn from the past and from our mistakes, what we endeavor to build next will be better.
This is my list. It is the one I use to help me decide for whom and for what party I will cast my vote.
What’s on your list? What is it that you want in exchange for your vote?
If you haven’t given it much thought yet, I hope you’ll do so before you too cast your vote.
Stay well, Heike
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