Take part in democracy

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1968

vote

Through my last 31-plus years on the planet, I’ve only not voted in one election – the very first one for which I was eligible.

Aside from that municipal election in North Bay when I was 18, I’ve taken voting seriously. Exercising one’s right to vote is a keystone of democracy.

Even if you dislike all candidates and all parties, you should still cast your ballot. Just don’t vote for anyone – spoil your ballot. That can at least send a message.

Not bothering to vote can also send a message, but it is one that is too difficult to interpret. Is it indifference? Contentment with the current government or current system?

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In 2011’s provincial election, less than half of eligible voters cast a ballot. And the trend is heading south. We need to change that.

Over the years, I’ve voted for all three of the main political parties. At times, I’ve voted for a particular candidate rather than the party; while at other times, it was for the party. And at still other times, it was against a political party.

I find that I cannot vote for the same party year after year, as its leadership changes, as does its policies. And chances are if a party is in power long enough, they’ve made enough mistakes that I feel they must be punished by losing the next election.

Take the provincial Liberals for example. Too many boondoggles and scandals over the years. They need replacing.

But the problem is with whom? Mr. Math, a.k.a Tim Hudak? That’s a tough choice. Or Andrea Horwath? Typically the NDP are in favour of big government and we are at a point in this province where we can’t afford what we have, let alone add to it. Another difficult vote.

This time around, I am voting for a local candidate, rather than a political party. I’m not going to tell you how to vote, but instead I will plea for you to get out there and cast your ballot.

Fun – and work – in the sun

Some folks call me predictable as to what I write about in this column, and what I post on social media. If the weather’s nice, chances are I will be writing about barbecuing and listening to tunes outdoors as I do so.

I believe in maximizing family time. I love it when my wife and daughter and I work outside together.

And after a morning of work work, we spent a pleasant Saturday picking out our flowers to plant this year and then putting plants into our various pots. It was an awesome afternoon, getting dirty and adding colour to our backyard.

The gazebo roof went on Friday night, so after our planting, we relaxed in the gazebo, yes, with music playing. Heck, we had classic rock playing all afternoon.

The evening was the icing on the cake as we went to hang out with my nephew and brother-in-law, getting full on burgers, followed by a campfire for the kids to roast a few marshmallows.

Talk about an excellent family Saturday.

Sunday yielded more time outdoors, both around the yard, but more importantly, with friends. Kids splashed in the pool, while the parents laughed and joked away the afternoon.

I smartly put sunscreen on my face, and we made sure our daughter was slathered up, but I’m sitting here typing with lobster arms. Ooops.

Still, it was an excellent weekend all around. But that’s just life in Chatham-Kent.

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