Krogel: Registering your vote is expression of democratic values

If you’ve left your house in the last three weeks, you’ve probably seen the numerous campaign signs.

If you’ve left your house any time in the last three weeks, you’ve probably seen the numerous campaign signs for this year’s municipal election.

When I was younger, I related the size of a candidate’s campaign sign to their competence as a leader.

Thankfully, I have been taught since that there is a little more depth than this to politics, and the more I learn, the more interesting and relevant it becomes.

However, there still seems to be a sense of apathy and detachment in our society when it comes time to vote.

This contrasts starkly with other countries around the world, such as Libya and Egypt, where people have fought passionately and given their lives for the right to vote, and continue to do so.

We are blessed to live in a country where we are not imprisoned or beaten when we voice our opinions and concerns with government, and instead are encouraged to do so. So why don’t we?

The notion that our vote doesn’t matter or that we don’t have the power to change anything seems to be widespread, but this simply does not fit in with reality.

This year we have seen displeasure with the government’s introduction of HST turn into a petition to return to the GST/PST system.

This petition started with one man taking the initiative to voice many people’s dissatisfaction, resulting in a province-wide vote and finally, the abolishment of HST.

Whether or not HST should have been done away with is not the point; the fact that the public’s feelings against it and the action taken resulted in a change of government policy—a clear example of the clout Canadians have to influence politics.

In Jack Layton’s final letter to Canadians, he speaks specifically to young people about the power we have to “change this country and this world.”

Layton is recognized even by those with differing political views from him as someone who was involved with politics because of his deep-seated values, not because of a desire for money or power in the way that fits in with the stereotypical “slimy” politician.

He reminded Canadians of what gets lost amidst all the electioneering and intricate legislature—that our involvement in politics should be an expression of our values and beliefs about how the world should be.

When you feel compassion for a homeless person that you see in downtown Kelowna, what course of action do you think the government should take to help them?

As a student, how do you think the government can improve our educational system?

Even if you’re not eligible to vote yet, you can still get involved.

Twice a year, Kelowna holds a Mayor’s Youth Forum for students who have innovative ideas about how to solve problems that affect local residents in areas such as transportation, environment and social issues.

Regardless of your age or position in society, you can be involved in creating positive change.

Let’s not forget what democracy means: Rule by the people.

Amber Krogel is a Grade 12 student at Kelowna Christian School.