Sima Sahar Zerehi – Don’t blame the weather – don’t say it was too sunny a day to waste in the voter booth, or that I didn’t want to trek out of my house in the fall rain or through the gusty wind.
Don’t fault the leaders in their bland coats and ties and androgynous pant-suites – don’t say it was because they failed to inspire you or impress you with their singular vision for a better Ontario.
Don’t cite the polls that told you that there was no reason to bother to vote because your team was in the lead, or because your Party had no chance to win – so you might as well stay home and forget the whole thing.
Don’t point the finger at voter fatigue –the fact that we’ve had just too many elections in the recent past – and that the time it took to mark your federal and municipal ballots was too exhausting to leave you any electoral incentive to make your mark on the provincial ballot.
On October sixth take the time to have your voice heard and your choice counted.
Vote because you know what’s happening in Toronto’s City Hall and you don’t want to see the same slash and burn agenda of callous cuts to local services and government programs at the provincial level.
Vote, because the TTC means as much to you as your local library; vote, because your kids education is on the line; because the quality of your health care is at risk; vote, because the future of our environment and energy consumption is being decided by those who take a seat in the legislature building; vote, to have your say on the future of our economy and jobs.
Vote, because you’re watching young people rise up in city after city from Athens to New York in hope of a better world, because you still dream of community and social change, because you still believe that we can create democratic spaces.
It’s true, we always get the government that we deserve and in 1995 we got Conservative Premiere Mike Harris’ “Common Sense Revolution,” his program of deficit reduction and lower taxes mounted at the expense of drastic cuts to government programs.
In Ontario we saw the amalgamation of our municipalities into large unmanageable megacities, the closure of our hospitals, massive layoffs of nurses, assaults on our social assistance and education systems, and attempts to privatize our government-owned enterprises.
Than again, in the fall of 2010 many of us sat at home in Toronto with our arms in the air – listening to the polls that told us that our mayoral selection was a fait accompli – we got Ford Nation while Calgary voted for change in Naheed Nenshi.
On October sixth we have a chance to vote again, to try to select the candidates that represent our communities, the politicians that partner with us in our struggles, the community representatives that understand our issues and speak our words. On E-Day we have a chance to make the Ontario election our own.
Put down your paper, turn off your computer, and go vote. That way, you can blame the other guy, who stayed at home, when you don’t end up with the government that you wanted.