On October 19…Just Vote!

Parts of this blog I have shared before prior to previous elections.  The right to vote is something very personal for me, and I feel compelled to share the story again.

We can talk about rights and responsibilities, we can talk about good or bad government, we can talk about religion, and we can talk about politics.  As Canadians we have the freedom to discuss all of these things.  What we really need to understand is that we have the freedom to choose those who govern this great city, this great province and this great country.  It is this freedom that makes Canada one of the best places in the world to live.  We cannot forget that many around the world are not able to enjoy these same freedoms.

September of 2006 was very emotional for the Keating family.  My nephew, Corporal Shane Keating, gave his life for his country while serving in Afghanistan.  The Canadian forces fought to give the people of Afghanistan the same freedoms that we enjoy here in Canada.  To date over 150 Canadian soldiers have given their lives for this cause.

In 2004 Afghanistan held Presidential elections, the first elections of any kind in Afghanistan since 1992.  After casting a vote, the people of Afghanistan had their fingers dyed blue to avoid having anyone vote twice.  The people of Afghanistan began to take great pride in having their fingers dyed.  This symbol of their involvement in the electoral process became their badge of honour.  For many this was the first time they had ever cast a vote in their entire lives.

Corporal Shane Keating

Politically 2015 has been a very important year for Albertans.  We had a Provincial election on May 5 and the Federal election is days away.  Canadians are fortunate to have the right to choose.  Elections are an opportunity for us to educate ourselves on who will represent you in City Council, at the Legislature or in Parliament.  Participating in the electoral process is our civic duty, and something that is unfortunately taken for granted too often.

To really be involved in the electoral process it is critical that we do our homework on who is on our ballots and make an informed decision on Election Day. Last week Mayor Nenshi launched the results of the Cities Matter survey.  This survey asked a number of questions that relate to Calgary.  All four major parties responded to this survey.  I encourage you to see the plan that each party has for Calgary here: http://www.citiesmatter.ca/

We are given more opportunities to vote during a campaign than ever before.  Earlier this week advanced polls were open for three days allowing voters to get in early and beat the rush on Election Day.  If you have not yet voted, please double check that you are registered to vote and that your voter information is correct.  You can do that, and find out where to vote by going to http://www.elections.ca/home.aspx.  This has been one of the most compelling elections in recent history, and your participation will go a long way to shape Canada’s future.

It is easy to take our freedoms for granted.  These freedoms were given to us by the fathers of confederation, preserved by the soldiers that fight to protect our way of life and exercised by everyday Canadians who work to make the world a better place.  My nephew gave his life so that people halfway across the world could share the same freedom that we as Canadians enjoy; your contribution to Canada can be as simple as casting a vote.