Duncan – With the upcoming municipal elections there has been some speculation as to why voter turnout is so pitifully low, and this is true also for both provincial and federal elections.
I think a look at our history would show that political interest is directly related to the economic environment of the time. A stable economy where people have dependable incomes and are comfortable unfortunately doesn’t encourage political activism.
The only time the majority of the population become passionately involved in elections is when things are tough, and by that I mean when the basic needs such as food and housing are threatened.
I have talked to many MPs and MLAs and this is one premise they have all, without exception, admitted is true.
As a person in his 60s, my political beliefs have been strongly influenced by my parents and relatives who lived through some very harsh economic times, even as far back as the 1930s when many people literally didn’t know where their next meal was coming from.
The social programs and safety nets we enjoy today all resulted from politically active people who pressured governments to act of face certain defeat at election time.
It seems kind of ironic that these benefits have probably contributed to the complacency we now see in many potential voters.
The apathy of many young people today is probably the result of being raised by parents who have had few, if any, economic hardships and themselves have not developed strong political principles.
There is a basic tenet that has been proved over and over and that is political apathy inevitably results in bad government. I think a look around our country would show this idea is as valid today as it ever has been.