“Young people need to vote. They need to get out there. Every vote counts. Educate yourself too. Don’t just vote. Know what you’re voting for, and stand by that.” - Nikki Reed
What My Grade 11 Social Studies Teacher Taught Me About Voting
I remember my mother always being actively engaged in the idea of democracy and voting since I was at least seven years old. As far as I know, she has never missed voting in an election and volunteered her time at the polling stations for the election that took place last April. But, with that said, I didn’t really pay much attention to the idea of voting until my Grade 11 Social Studies class. My teacher (let’s call him Mr.French) was quirky, but he was also so passionate about voting.
One of the anecdotes I remember him telling consisted of a conversation between his grandpa, his brother, and himself when they were around the ages of 3-5:
Grandpa: So now that I’ve given you some time to think about it, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Brother: I want to be a fire truck!
Mr. French: I don’t know what I want to be but I want to be voting!
Mr. French was taught from a young age the importance of voting and I am positive that, to this day, he has never missed voting in an election since he gained the ability to do so. He taught us that it is important to get out and vote. Clearly, this is a leasson that has begun to reach the masses considering that in Alberta (where our Canadian office is located) the last provincial election had a voter turnout of 64%. This is the highest turnout since 1982!!
The most important aspect of voting Mr. French taught me was that no matter who you vote for your vote still matters. With this knowledge in my head, I was excited when I was able to vote in 2015. A surprising amount of people I talk to have the mentality of “why should I vote, my vote will not make a difference.” But if everyone with that mentality voted I guarantee it would make a difference.
Interestingly, there is a party that exists in Canada for people who do want to vote but don’t necessarily want to vote for any of the running parties. This party is The Rhinoceros Party of Canada (which I did first hear about in my Grade 11 Social Studies class). The Rhino Party was created in 2006 and promises to not keep any of their promises if they are elected.When we did a fake federal election across my highschool - The Rhino Party won by a landslide, proving that The Rhino Party is for people who want to vote but either have no idea what is going on or they don’t like any of the other options. One of The Rhino Party’s most recent promises is that they “want more green cars on the road, including dark green, pale green and fluorescent green cars. In fact, the party wants fluorescent green to be Canada’s national colour.”
The fact of the matter is if you can vote you should vote! Voting makes a difference on all levels and it is important to have a say within your government, your organizations, your school, etc..