Wednesday, 30 September 2015 14:22

Some advice for those people voting in the Oct. 19 federal election

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It is important to vote in any election. It starts in elementary school voting for the school council representative, to post-secondary students unions all the way to municipal, provincial or federal elections.

This particular federal election has involved the use of diversionary tactics. A lot of straw men have been put up and then knocked down. This makes it hard to know who to vote for, what to believe and it’s challenging wading through the details.
Some pundits are taking shots at all of the leaders, there has been personal dirt digging, political mudslinging and it’s making for a nasty campaign. It makes for great theatre, but not much else.
Unlike no other federal election, this campaign is awash on information opinions, analysis, etc. It used to be voters would get their political pamphlets and then make their decisions.
Like it is with sports, the analysis is sometimes more compelling than the actual actions and statements of the politicians. Strategies are broken down and analyzed with the media and pundits waiting to pounce on the slightest aspect which can be turned into a controversy. Sometimes the controversy exists, sometimes it doesn’t.
There are opinions from experts in a lot of different fields ranging from the Taxpayers Federation, who concentrate on government taxation and spending practices and how it effects everyone, all the way to different special interests groups who have an interest in political hotbeds such as energy, the environment and human rights.
It used to be there were only a few national televised debates: one in English, one in French. Now, it’s broken down into smaller ones such as the economy and foreign policy, besides a couple of general ones.
Experts are coming out of the woodwork analyzing everything from the, “Justin just isn’t ready commercials”, to what is described as the diversion of the religious headwear issue which is taking attention away from economic policy and employment issues.
The onus is on the voter to put a little time into researching the candidates and their parties. It’s easy to say “aww, they’re all alike” or “it doesn’t matter who is elected, we’re all going to get messed over.”
Actually, they aren’t all alike. The policies for each party are unique and in reality if you looked at how they approach issues such as the war on terrorism, role of the military, taxation strategies and even approach to foreign policy, there are differences.
What is the same is how the leaders are marketing their campaigns and how their political opponents are all trying their hardest to attack what they see as flaws and ultimately their credibility.
While the internet and social media such as Facebook and Twitter have certainly provided a lot more access to information and connections with different sources, it’s a bit overwhelming for a lot of people. Many just don’t have time to make an informed decision, so how to decide who to vote for?
Pick a couple of the most important issues and find out where the parties stand on those. If not satisfied with the information provided by the party’s website pamphlet or an answer isn’t available because it wasn’t debated or the information was unsatisfactory, contact the candidates directly.
In this fragmented world, getting specific answers only comes from asking specific questions. If the candidate or his/her associates fail to answer a question, that speaks volumes.
No matter what, try to get out and vote. Make sure the collective voice is heard and let the chips fall where they may.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor