Once again, federal elections are upon us. While federal elections have become an increasingly common sight, this may very well be the first in which many students are eligible to vote. Though Canadian youth may be familiar with the concepts of democracy and voting from high school social studies courses, actually participating in an election is quite another matter.
First time voters are often unsure of what to do or how to vote. It is actually quite a simple process and even more so if you have access to the Internet. The process of voting can be broken down into four simple steps: figuring out what you want, researching, making a decision and casting the ballot.
Before voting, it is essential to have an opinion about what you want for Canada and what you want Canada to do for you. Many people may believe the federal government does not have much of an effect on daily life and therefore we have no reason to care about it very much. But this is not the case. The Canadian healthcare system is a federally funded institution (although it's provincially run). Crime prevention, foreign policy and infrastructure are some other aspects of life in which the federal government exerts power. If one holds an opinion on any of these subjects, voting is the most direct way to make such an opinion heard.
Do you agree with an increase in availability to student loans and grants? What do you suppose is the best method to curb crime? Should Canada be in Afghanistan and Libya? Once you have developed answers to some of the above and other similar questions, you are ready to move onto the next step toward ballot-casting.
Research what parties, party leaders and local candidates want for Canada and for you. All major political parties have a website and and party platform. Most party leaders and some local candidates also have a Twitter feed and a Facebook account. Information is now more accessible than ever.
Finally, decide who you want to support and vote. Find out where the nearest polling station is, don't forget your identification and go out and vote!