If you’re an Ontario voter you have the right to exercise that privilege on Thursday. What a blessing!

Please do it with information, thought and as much wisdom as you can muster. Remember that this is a right that many people in the world don’t have or, if they do, it often isn’t a truly open and free choice.

However, I’m not here to give you the ‘you must vote!’ speech either because I don’t believe it. Yes, there were sacrifices made before us to give us freedom and democracy but I believe that freedom includes both the right to vote and the freedom to choose not to vote.

For myself, it is especially true in this election that none of the parties seem to broadly represent my values and it will require me to hold my nose in some way whichever one I choose. I think I’ve come to a conclusion but certainly not voting was a real possibility for awhile.

And since we’re talking voting, please don’t vote if you are not aware of the issues. Either inform yourself or abstain. The real enemy of democracy is not so much people who don’t vote as it is people who vote blindly or vote based on someone else’s opinion.

Here is a good resource for you to begin to examine and compare the parties’ positions: https://www.macleans.ca/politics/ontario-election-2018-party-platforms/

Speaking of voting blindly, please don’t always vote the same party. If you’re only voting to get your way or out of spite, stay home. You owe it to those people who bought your freedom to intelligently use your vote to strengthen our community even if it crosses party lines.

If you are a one-issue voter, please carefully consider the bigger picture and whether your bias is selfish or hurtful to an unrepresented or needy neighbour. If you consider yourself a Christian then the good of others should be your ultimate, and perhaps only, motivation (see last week’s post https://bertrim.ca/power-looks-like-the-l-word/ ).

It is also popular for some to say, ‘If you don’t vote then you can’t complain’. Disagree. Voting doesn’t entitle me to express my opinion, simply being a part of this amazing province/nation enables me to do that.

I have another principle that I usually go by: I tend to vote against any party that’s been in power for two terms or more. It’s too easy for power and politics and comfort and patronage and favours and shortcuts to infiltrate even the best intentioned governments. Just sayin’. (I know that sounds like I’m politicking in this case but it’s actually something I do.)

Do you have any other general voting principles? Feel free to share (not campaign) with a comment.

Go forth and vote with joy!

Or don’t.