Today I watched the Question Period at the House of Commons for the first time. This is an event held every weekday where parliament members ask each other questions about current federal issues, policies, etc. (at least that’s what it’s supposed to be).
I’m very disappointed. Never in my life have a watched a group of adults partake in such juvenile arguments.
They argue like 10-year-olds. I hear nothing but complaints and rebuttals about everything and anything. Whenever some issue is brought up by an opposing party, they always end with some sort of attack on the party “It would be nice if the [insert opposing party’s name] would support us in our attempt to help hard-working Canadians”.
This childish chiding made me wonder: is the dichotomy between the infantile bickering and complex backroom dealings of politics the reason that citizens opt for apathy as their political stance? Do people choose to not pay attention to politics, despite knowing that it affects them, because it’s just too difficult to understand?
Or do people opt out of listening to politics because it just pisses them off?
Whatever the case, I sympathize with people that don’t like hearing about government politics. It wasn’t until I become a university student that I began to pay attention to politics. There, I participated in school council elections that made it apparent that my vote had an actual effect on the environment around me. (We had elections for student councils in high school, but they always felt like popularity contests with insignificant outcomes. Perhaps that’s not far from the truth). I also became more interested in politics with age because I became old enough to vote. This was exciting for me since we had a federal election the year I turned 18. I was thrilled to have this privilege that had since been barred from me because of my age. I wanted to be a part of the change and to select the next leader of my country.
After the election results were posted, I quickly became aware of why many adults don’t vote. My vote had gone to a member of parliament that didn’t win, not by a long shot. It made my vote feel worthless. I felt like a pixel on a screen. I was so bright with enthusiasm, but ultimately I was not important enough to make a change in the overall picture of our country.
I started to learn more about the first past the post voting system we have in Canada and how flawed it was. I was happy to hear that in 2016 we elected a prime minister and party that promised to change the voting system. It’s too bad that didn’t happen, but at least they made a promise to protect election results from cyber-fraud and e-meddling. We’ve seen what that has done in America with the election of Donald Trump.
All in all, your government is important and it is important to communicate with them. I know it can be annoying, boring, and downright confusing, but you owe it to yourself to know what your tax money is funding.