My Vote Counts… Doesn’t It?

Source of photo: Funny Political Memes Facebook

I remember so clearly the very first time I voted. I was 19 years old and there was a municipal election going on in my home town. I was attending university, in another city. It was the first year that I was eligible to vote and when a person I knew from home approached me to tell me he was taking students’ votes by proxy, I excitedly told him that yes, I would be happy to cast my ballot.

The only problem was, I knew none of the people running and I knew none of their platforms (indeed, I doubt if I knew then, what a platform was). But voting was such an important part of ‘being a grown-up’! I had no idea what to do. As I stood there, studying the list of candidates, I was woefully unprepared to make any kind of rational decision.

“Vote for him,” suggested the proxy fellow helpfully, as he pointed to a name on the list.

Well, if the candidate was good enough for him – a little older than me and surely wiser, how wrong could it be for me to vote the same? Without further reflection, I proudly and decisively placed my ‘X’ in the box beside the name he had suggested.

I have come a long way since then, of course. I watch the different parties now with keen wariness and much cynicism. I do not belong to any one party (although I briefly forayed into politics a few years ago when I joined the Green Party and helped with the 2019 federal election). I usually vote strategically, rarely voting for who I want, but rather, for the person most likely to beat the person I really do not want running my country or my province.

And I trust none of them.

Not one.

While I generally have a low opinion of any and all politicians, I have come to believe that it’s possible that some people do go into politics for all the right reasons, but that something terrible happens after they actually win their seat. I can only extrapolate as to what it is, of course, but my imagination holds no bounds:

  • Greedy lobbyists working for the filthy rich, who only inform a politician that they are ‘owned’ after they have won their seat and it is too late for them to back away?
  • A secret table of rich, influential billionaires who maintain a secret list of the politian’s worst transgressions, that they threaten to release to the media should the politician stray from their evil, self-serving goals?
  • Threats on their families?
  • Promises of great privilege and unlimited wealth? (to be fair, this one is built in: in my country, act as a federal or a provincial Member of Parliament for at least six years and you are set for life with a pension the little people could only dream of)
  • An education in a prestigious private school and university for every one of their now-privileged little offspring?
  • Selling their soul to the devil in exchange for winning their candidacy?
  • Demonic possession?

I could do this all day.

And the promises!!! If I could tell the fledgling Canadian voter only one thing, it would be this: politicians are allowed to promise you pretty much anything they want to. It doesn’t matter if they know – for a fact – that they could never, ever, make good on their promise. It doesn’t matter that what they are promising would come at a cost so exorbitant that there is no hope of ever paying for it. It doesn’t matter if what they are promising goes against the constitution, the by-laws or the treaties that we are governed by. It doesn’t matter if they are promising to undo international agreements with other countries that cannot be undone without much diplomatic paperwork and perhaps a war or two.

It doesn’t matter whether they believe what they are saying or whether they are purposefully lying through their expensive, well-cared-for teeth. If politicians are making a promise, no matter what party, no matter what level of government or what the subject is, the odds are: they are lying to you.

Because politics are not really about running a country: at least, not anymore.

If they were, we would be getting results. Decisions would be made based on the good of the people: realistic and equitable wages for all; farming, forestry and mining practices that take the environment into consideration; a solution to Canada’s appalling recycling practices (we are one of the worst); policies that ensure the least favoured among us get a fair shake when it comes to food security, education and job opportunities. And this is to name but a few.

Instead, we just get the same promises, over and over again.

I have come to suspect that politicians have a secret code whereby they pass the same promises back and forth over the years (i.e. “Hey Pierre: it’s your turn to make a stink about the carbon tax. I’ll take it on next time, okay? (nudge, wink).”

It’s all about making the little people – aka the voters – feel like the decisions they make are meaningful, while ensuring that nothing meaningful – or costly, or time-consuming or hard to pull off – gets done.

And the person who is the best liar during a given election gets the prize.

Please hear this: if you belong to one party and one party only; if you think that ‘all the other parties’ are garbage; if you think your party holds all the answers, then you are doing it wrong.

Until our politicians stop fighting with one another, bad-mouthing one another, undermining one another and outright sabotaging one another, things are never going to change.

Seven years ago, our current handsome, charismatic leader promised that he would change our imperfect first-past-the-post system to a voting system based on proportional representation. It’s a little complicated to explain but basically, proportional representation would mean that any party that won a seat in any riding now has a ‘say’ in parliament. No more 32.7% majorities. Each party would have a percentage of the vote based on how the country actually voted for them. No more empty promises, because you would actually have to stand by your word if elected. No more ‘popular vote’ paradoxes. No more endless, senseless days-long arguments in parliament. Candidates – and all political parties – would actually have to work together.

For the good of the country – not their wallets, their reputations or their resumes!!!

Source of photo: Wikipedia

With proportional representation, there would be fewer opportunities for corruption. Fewer reasons to bad-mouth one another: parliamentarians would – gasp – actually have to run the country instead of spending all their time making one another look bad.

But like all promises, the promise of proportional representation in Canada got quietly pushed to the back burner a long time ago.

Until the next federal election, that is.

Oh, the promises are already coming, fast and furious…

Patti Moore Wilson/©


I reside on the unceded and unsurrendered lands of the Wolastoqiyik, Mi’kmaq and Peskotomuhkati Yik

Note: I humbly exclude municipal politics from the above rant. While municipal politics can get pretty political in big cities, most municipal politicians live in small towns. They are friends and neighbours of the people who vote them in. They are directly answerable to their communities. And most are doing an amazing job…


Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

9 thoughts on “My Vote Counts… Doesn’t It?”

  1. It it too much to ask for “candidates – and all political parties – would actually have to work together.” I keep coming back to that idea and I feel like I’m screaming to myself. At least in the U.S., that feels like a long lost concept nowadays. Interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m 25 from the UK. So far I’ve had THREE prime ministers who didn’t even face a general election! Three. (Brown, May’s first term, now Truss). Even when there is an actual election, it’s with FPTP and a rabid media twisting everything. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing!!.. in today’s world I have technology and my heart to determine how I will vote…. it may not accomplish what I had hoped as I am merely one grain of sand on a large beach, but I will be able to go through life knowing I did not walk away doing nothing… also there is a lot I can do without the help of a politician… “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ( Mother Teresa)… 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)


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