This was the first year I made up my mind to vote and I mean I really made up my mind. I was determined to make an informed political choice on October 19. From Day 1, when the election campaigning officially began, to Day 78, I was following each major political party’s progress like a bloodhound.
Trust me. I am not usually this politically involved mostly because growing up, my family never was. My family immigrated to Canada from Korea when I was 4 so the years following were geared towards settling down, fitting in, and making a sizeable living. However, I am now 20 and now my family can more or less consider themselves with confidence as Canadian citizens. As such, it seemed the timing was right. I would make my first ever vote as a Canadian citizen this October.
Who knew voting could turn out to be such a positive learning experience?
Don’t underestimate the underdog.
Can we marvel for just one moment at the fact that Canada will be run by a Liberal majority government? To think that just 6 weeks ago the race was primarily between the NDP and the Conservatives. It baffles me even now to try and think through how the issue of the Niqab became the turning point and foothold the Liberals needed to push out the NDP as the change vote.
Moreover, a majority government was not even a possibility until Justin Trudeau began campaigning for it just a few days before voting day and yet, here we are. A Liberal majority government.
I truly did not think the Liberals had a chance. I thought the best they would get is official opposition but lesson #1 for me is: do not underestimate the underdog.
There are always two sides to one coin.
Did you watch the federal election debates? Whether you watched one or all of them, I am sure you noticed how facts become easily manipulated to be more opinionated than informative. Let me give you an example.
During the Maclean’s Leaders’ Debate, Thomas Mulcair explained Canada is the only country in the G-7 to be in recession and that 200 000 more Canadians are unemployed today than in 2008. Conversely, Harper retorted by explaining Canada has the best economic record in the G-7 by far and that 1.3 million net new jobs have been created since 2008. These are all true facts but are totally contradictory in meaning; which is why Lesson #2 for me is that there are always two sides to one coin.
CBC’s The House.
I am going to let the amazing podcasts of The House speak for itself. This radio show was a reliable source of up to date information on polls, candidate campaign promises, and party platform progressions.
Lesson #3, listen regularly to the podcasts from The House.
You, me, and Dupree on social media.
Social media was huge political campaigning tool that got some political candidates fired, put others in the spotlight, and generally, in my opinion, helped combat political apathy.
Candidates like Ala Buzreba and Tim Dutaud were dropped as party candidates due to questionable social media postings. Elizabeth May did an incredible job in participating in the Globe and Mail Leaders’ Debate despite the fact she was not invited to it through social media forums.
Personally, I started to tweet out my thoughts on Twitter (@ChrisCan) about how I felt the campaigns were going and engaged in discussion on party platform issues through Facebook which made a huge impact in motivating me to continue in my research and political attentiveness on the election campaigns.
So, finally, my last lesson is to stay engaged by staying connected.