Posted by Justin Holmes in In the news
on 04 15th, 2011 | one response
A recent mess around a special ballot at the University of Guelph, which involved a Conservative staffer who, according to reports, made a move to grab a ballot box with or without actually touching the box, has raised a lot of attention.
Unfortunately, too much of the attention is being shone upon the situation for the wrong reasons.
It’s clearly tempting to single out the Tory staffer in question as anything from overzealous to crazy, and to paint this as antidemocratic policy straight from Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, as a speech writer for Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff did today (invoking, of all things, Pink Floyd).
The Liberals are having a politicking field day on this one, as is their right. The public, however, should see this for what it is.
Today, Elections Canada said that while this ballot was “well-intentioned,” it has asked the officer behind the initiative “not to engage in any further activities of a similar nature,” as were all returning officers.
Allegedly – and presumably, given the bizarre reaction by the motivated Conservative – the vote was not the impartial affair it should have been. Materials promoting parties were in plain sight. Given the left-wing climate of the arts- and agriculture-heavy U of G, and of course the objections of the box-wresting Tory, there probably wasn’t much there promoting the Conservative party. There may well have been outright bashing.
There’s also the fact that this vote wasn’t necessary. All voters in Guelph have the ability to vote through the usual channels – going to a university doesn’t make a voter special. The idea that the Guelph riding might prove more of a battleground than one’s home riding is irrelevant. Voters should vote in the riding they identify as being their home, not where they’d like to.
The buzz around the University of Guelph’s so-called ‘vote mob’ has been cute. But the party-friendly ‘mob’ moniker is almost a double entendre here. Democracy is built around the idea voters shouldn’t be coerced. The integrity of the voting process needs to be respected, and not only when the party you don’t like does something they shouldn’t.
It’s key we get the youth vote out. It’s also key the youth vote not be treated as an automatic left wing vote, and they – as every Canadian – be given the environment to make their own choices.