Why the heck is Federal Election Day not a national holiday?
That’s an honest question.
Voting is one of the most significant things any citizen can do. It’s not a stretch to say it’s our most important civic duty.
By casting a vote, you’re participating in democracy, something we sometimes take for granted on this side of the globe. (Universal suffrage has become one of the demands at the center of the protests in Hong Kong that have been ongoing since early this summer.)
According to Elections Canada, voter turnout in the 2015 federal election was 68.3%.
That’s a fairly high number when you compare it to 2011 (61.1%) and 2008 (58.8%), but low historically. Between 1957 and 1993, every single federal election (and referendum) had a turnout of at least 69.3%, with all, but two, instances drawing a turnout over 71%.
But back to the question at hand.
Why Federal Election Day Should Be A National Holiday
Some may argue that “my vote doesn’t matter”, but that’s actually not a stance against the importance of voting; it’s a stance against the current election system.
The flip-side of that argument is if they felt like their vote did matter, they would go vote.
So why not make it feel like it matters?
Making Federal Election Day a national holiday highlights its importance.
Try to think of a list of important holidays, and more than likely all of them are national holidays. It’s how we know what’s serious and important (Canada Day, Thanksgiving) and what’s a little less so (April Fool’s Day, Halloween).
With apologies to Queen Victoria, if Victoria Day is a national holiday, what message does it send that Federal Election Day isn’t a national holiday?
Secondarily, making Federal Election Day a national holiday would simply make us like it more.
The first time around might not see a huge change, but after it settles in, it’s not unreasonable to believe that it’ll result in more people voting in advance, so they’re completely free on Federal Election Day.
This also eliminates the hurdle of having to find time off of work, or school, to go vote.
While important, it’s fairly safe to say that most people do not find it “fun”, so the less hurdles, the better.
Make Federal Election Day
great again a national holiday.
For all things British Columbia, stay tuned to 604 Now.
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