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Student Indifference

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

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Written by Laura Shaw

A Provincial election is fast approaching, yet it is with a shrug and a sigh that so many students acknowledge this fact. When students explain why they don’t vote, the most common (and frustrating) reasons are, “I’m only one
person, I can’t make a difference”, or “I don’t know enough about the parties/candidates to vote.” If every student who uttered these words took five minutes to look over the parties’ platforms, registered to vote, then voted, it would make a huge difference.

Personally, I believe that as students our voices are the most important of all. And, because we will soon be entering the workforce in droves, taking over all the large corporations, becoming the doctors and lawyers and teachers and artists and professors and bankers, we should be voting now to ensure that when we do enter the "real world", it’s ready for us, and it’s a world we can live in, happily and successfully. We should be shaping the world to better fit our needs, and when we neglect to vote, we’re letting the power that is rightfully ours by law slip away from us.

It is important to note that the generations before us, our parents, the “baby boomer” generation, will be flooding the voting booths in record numbers in the next few years. Since students are generally more apathetic towards voting than the middle-aged and seniors, their votes will be plentiful, and it’s easy to imagine who they will be voting for, versus who we would be voting for, if we were voting. If we don’t vote, the chances are even more highly stacked against us than they already are. Our priorities differ vastly from those of the elderly, who usually see health care as being first and foremost, and education and environmental needs as being secondary. Our feelings towards tuition, gay rights, marijuana legalization, education, privatized health care, all are important, and do not always coincide with those of the more conservative governments that older people tend to lean towards.

What can be done about student indifference? When will we realize that unless we take the time to research and become involved in our country, we can only blame ourselves when tax cuts take away from the most important part of our society- education? If education is ignored, it will be a large, ignorant mass of a population who will have to clean up a filthy, smoggy mess; too little too late.

Become involved, become educated, learn where candidates stand on issues that are important to you, and vote! It may sound corny, but it’s the only way to have some control over what direction our province is heading.

Some web sites to use in your search for election information:

Maple Leaf Web
(Includes information on how the Ontario electoral system works, as well as party platforms and brief leader biographies)

Elections Ontario
(Very comprehensive site, has links to every party imaginable, where and how to vote, FAQ’s, history, you name it.)

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