Less than three years ago, Canada dipped to a shameful low in voter participation when only 58.8 per cent of registered voters bothered to cast a ballot in the Oct. 14, 2008, federal election.
That set the mark as the lowest voter-turnout in an election in history. Only the 1898 national referendum on prohibition (we actually voted in favour!) resulted in a more pathetic turnout, at 44 per cent.
Nothing much has changed between 2008 and 2011 and, according to all the polls, Parliament will likely look the same following Monday’s election: A minority Conservative government and perhaps the Liberals and New Democrats switching spots in the second and third positions.
Yet, for some reason, there are signs pointing to a surge in voter participation.
Advance-poll numbers from last weekend were at record levels, which may result in a healthy turnout on Monday.
Perhaps the electorate as a whole will rise up and vote en mass because it is sick and tired of having to vote so often.
Perhaps the polling numbers in an age of cell phones and e-mails and texts are way off and we will see a radically different look to the House of Commons come Tuesday. Perhaps we might even see the first Green candidate elected.
Whatever the reason for the apparent heightened voter awareness, it is welcome and, if an increased number of voters is composed of the younger set, it will bode well for politics in Canada as we enter this century’s second decade.
Vote on Monday. For something, against something — just vote.
— Kamloops This Week