Voting in Canada

Topics: Democracy, Election, Elections Pages: 5 (1606 words) Published: February 25, 2013
Voting in Canada:
Compulsory Voting

Recently, controversy has arisen regarding the voting system that Canada employs. Specifically, the controversy lies in the amount of citizens that actually come out and vote in Federal or provincial elections. There have been many studies undertaken to determine whether or not citizens of Canada should be required by law to vote at the elections. There have been many parliamentary discussions, as well, on this topic and there was even a bill established to enforce this mandatory voting idea. Bill S-22 was established to reinforce the foundation of Canada’s democracy by enforcing mandatory voting. Throughout the years, this has been a problem for many democratic countries including Canada. Although there is both good and bad that comes with the idea of mandatory voting, it is my opinion that voting should be mandatory. Canada should change its voting from the voluntary system to a new mandatory bylaw voting system for its citizens because it would increase voter turnout significantly, reduce excessive campaign spending, and Canadian citizens have the opportunity to vote. Citizen voting needs to become mandatory because it will increase the turnout of citizens at federal and provincial elections. Canada is run by a democracy and this means that the country is run in a way that acknowledges the citizens’ opinions. The main problem that made this idea of mandatory voting come to life is that the voting turnout has decreased significantly in the last number of years. Without voters, a democracy cannot run as intended; therefore, making voting compulsory would result in proper democratic procedure. Voter turnout has been on the decline in Canada since the 1960s, reaching a record low of just 60.9 percent of Canadians actually voting in the 2004 election. Canada needs citizens to come vote so that the democratic government system can run properly and fairly, and mandatory voting would do this (Hard, 2005). With only 60.9 percent of Canadians showing up at the polls, this means that the government is only reflecting 60.9 percent of the Canadian population opinion. Enforcing mandatory voting is something that Canada needs to do because only a portion of the country is being fairly represented. By making voting compulsory, the Government of Canada would then be able to run while representing the majority of the country. The problem with people’s opinions not being represented is that the country will not actually be reflecting everyone that it stands for. Again, the intent of democracy is to represent people and for people’s voices to be heard. If everyone’s opinion cannot be expressed, then the government is not truly democratic, thus, mandatory voting should be enforced in Canada (Hard, 2005). Many people may say that elections are totally unbiased but it has been proven that they are not unbiased, due to the type of people voting. Voting should be mandatory because it would decrease the chance of having a biased election. In a voluntary system, the types of people that vote are usually the knowledgeable and the wealthy.  Also, in voluntary systems, it is the poor and the marginalized who tend to be the non-voters. This causes a bias in the federal or provincial elections. The opinions of the wealthy and knowledgeable will sometimes turn out to be somewhat similar in nature while those of the poor and marginalized will be quite different. This also leads to an un-democratic government because not all of the citizens’ opinions are heard. The Canadian government needs people to voice their opinions in order to keep a democracy (Barns,2004). Elections tend to make the parties running in the election dish out a lot of money for campaigning. Making voting mandatory would lower the costs of campaigning significantly. The reason why they put in so much money to advertise their party is because they need to convince people to go out and vote. The only way that they are going to...
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