By Ulli Diemer
Seven News, March 13, 1981
In this issue, 7 News carries short articles by or about the major candidates running the three ridings of St. George, St. David, and Riverdale. In each case, the article was supplied by the campaign organizations of the candidates themselves, so bear that in mind when you read the pieces. They are telling you why you should vote for them: read and compare their messages and their campaign literature critically.
The first question you may have is “Why bother to vote at all?” What difference will it make? Aren’t politicians all pretty much the same?
It’s true that a lot of things will be much the same no matter what happens in the election. Your boss will still be your boss, your landlord will still be your landlord, inflation and,unemployment will still be around, pollution will get worse, Ronald Reagan will still be President of the U.S., and the sun will be shining, sometimes anyway.
But the results will affect some things that do make a difference: who represents your area in the legislature, and who forms the government. And that can mean some important differences. The economic policies of the parties, whether they propose to increase or cut health spending, whether they are for or against rent controls, for or against changes in the human rights code, what they propose on pensions and day care and education, can all affect your life in very real ways.
So look at what the parties and candidates have to say about the issues that you consider important. And notice what they don’t talk about, too – that can sometimes be a real clue to their leanings as well. And finally, remember that polictical parties and leaders seem to make a habit of ignoring election promises once the election is over. Do you believe what they are saying?
Another question: is your vote wasted if you elect a member to the opposition benches rather than the government? Not really, if you support the policies of that opposition party. A strong opposition can often help to keep the government in line. Even independent legislators not affiliated to any party could be very effective because they would not be forced to toe a party line and so could speak more freely.
So cast your vote as you believe. Even voting for fringe or crank candidates can sometimes have a good effect if a lot of people do it: it scares the elected members.
This article was published in Seven News, Volume 11, Number 18, March 13, 1981