The Freedom To Vote

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Today is election day in Ontario. This is a tough one. I always vote. When my daughter was little I would take her with me, we would make an afternoon of it and grab a treat on the way home. I wanted her to know that it is an honour to get to vote. That it is something special.

Unfortunately that excitement and respect for the process can be hard to keep going at times. I have problems with our political party leaders spending all their time throwing accusations and past failures at eh other leaders or talking about success their party had 10 years ago. I want to be able to vote for the individual. Someone who will walk into work and actually work for me. Someone who will listen to and fix the problems with the mental health and long term care systems in Ontario. Someone who will actually feed the homeless people they see and fix the problems that are facing my community rather than collect huge pay checks and expense accounts while having two luxury homes and thousands of dollars in catering for meeting to decide to cut Veteran, Mental Health or Social Services.

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I want someone who will not be reprimanded by the top dog for speaking out for the people they work for….The person I vote for should be there working for me, not for their party leader. I understand the need for organization, party platforms and some unity in message but the people who want to actually make a difference in the world for those in need want elected officials who have a voice…we want a voice. Not some party leaders voice shouting at another party leader for incompetence…we want a voice saying how we will save the thousands of young Canadians we lose because of mental health issues, we want a voice on how we will stop one more Canadian from dying on the streets or of poverty related health complications.

I don’t want to elect someone to travel to India or Asia or Europe on my tax dollar for Public Relations and to build an economic relationship with other politicians… I want someone who will worry about the business struggling on the corner or the women’s shelter that is overrun and underfunded. I want a voice. I don’t care what you have done in the past and I don’t care how your opponents have screwed up in the history of Ontario politics..I care about what you are going to do in the future to give those without a voice the power to live more safely, more comfortably, more healthy.

If you are going to make a decision for those in a mental health institution…go there, experience what they do. I am not talking about a crowd of reporters taking your picture as you announce funding (to create committees of your friend politicians to “Examine the Mental Health System”)….I mean go check yourself into the hospital for a week…see how patient advocates don’t advocate for the patient, see how there is no recreation or therapy program at all on some units where nurses sit behind glass nurses stations and quality of life is below par…go to a shelter for a week or try to live on the social assistance or disability some Canadians must face.

I don’t vote as much for who will represent me anymore….I vote based on who I REALLY don’t want in there. The reason I vote is because it is a freedom that people sacrifice their life to have. It is something that millions in this world have not had the freedom to do, so even if my choices of politicians don’t inspire me the fact that I have the right, honour and priveledge to vote and that inspires me to believe change is possible when we are willing to fight for it. It’s not really about what my candidate will do…it is about what I am willing to do so I vote because others having lost their lives for that right and if I don’t agree with how the country is run or people are helped…it should be me that makes sure they do something about it.

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