Ian Pusey can’t wait to cast a ballot in Monday’s federal election.
It’s something the first-year UBC Okanagan business student has been looking forward to since, well, the last federal election in 2011.
When he was 13. And watching the election on TV. And ignoring parents Ann and Doug’s pleas to go to bed, wanting to stay up to see who won.
Pusey turned 18 – the eligible voting age in Canada – three days before the election.
“It’s an important pillar of our society, our ability to express our opinion through voting,” said Pusey, a proud graduate of Coldstream’s Kalamalka Secondary School.
“That’s one of the things that separates Canadian society from a lot of other countries in the world. We have the freedom to share our opinion and to have our voice heard. It’s very important that we do that.”
An employee at Sparkling Hill resort – when not studying business at university – Pusey has kept tabs on politics since that 2011 election.
In Grade 10, he and others from Kal Secondary went to Ottawa with the Encounters With Canada group to learn how government functions, visit the Parliament buildings and learn about Canada’s heritage.
The fact that he can now vote leaves him a little excited.
“It’s exciting in the same way you go for a driver’s test,” said Pusey. “The results might be good, or, at the same time, they might not be good but it’s something you have to do.”
Calling himself a “fiscal conservative but upholding more progressive social values, so I’m kind of stuck in the middle on that,” Pusey figures most of his friends will join him in casting a ballot for the first time, and that their minds are made up on who they’ll vote for.
“I’d say two-thirds of my friends have made a decision on who they’re going to vote for and have put some thought into it,” he said.
Pusey will join his parents after his Monday afternoon economics class at whatever polling station they’ll be going to, and has taken election night off work to watch the action on TV.
“I would say we’re not going to see a majority government this time around,” he said. “The Conservatives don’t have as much popular support as they used to. Vote-splitting on the left wing is not going to lead to a majority for either the Liberals or the NDP.
“I would project a minority Liberal or minority Conservative government.”
No matter the outcome, Pusey encourages all eligible first-time voters, and everyone eligible to mark a ballot to get out and vote.
“People like to cite that there’s a failure in our democracy and their vote doesn’t count for anything,” he said. “I’d like to see those people spend a week in say, North Korea, then come back here and tell me about the failure of our democracy.
“It is truly a representative democracy. If you want to change it that better suits your needs, you can vote for a party that wants to change the democracy. Both the Liberals and NDP want to change our representation system, so vote for one of them if you want to change the system, you know?”