The importance of being engaged and being counted

Ekos Research just released their latest poll, which shows some interesting trends for civil society in Canada and our democratic process. The Liberals and Conservatives are still bouncing back and forth, with a majority still elusive to both parties. What is most interesting, however, is that the results reveal a profound generational chasm in Canada. The Green Party now leads significantly among youth and would be close to a majority government if voting were limited to those under 25. Seniors, on the other hand, stand firmly behind the Conservative Party, who would win a 200 plus seat ajority if only those over 65 were to vote.

Given the low voting rates of youth, I believe it is around 24% in Canada, this represents a distinct challenge for the Green Party to mobilize this support by communicating to youth where they are, social media. And with respect to the media, it is about time that more facts were presented to the Canadian public, especially with respect to the culture of fear around crime that is being perpetuated, crime is decreasing, our societies are gradually improving socially (see latest Worldwatch figures), with one key indicator continuing to decline, ecological integrity and biodiversity loss. And in general, we, the baby boom generation should start standing up and making our voices heard for all the things we fought about in the 60s, and have yet to still achieve.

We get the government we deserve, and democracies are only vital if they represent the amjority of communities. But they can only do so, unless you get out and vote and make your voice heard. We should also be arguing for on-line voting, especially to engage our youth and even more seniors, and we need a media that returns to social values of reporting upon the evidence as independently and as accurately as possible. We need a media space that discusses all of the current narratives in play in this diverse country of ours, a media independent of the dominant narrative of growth at all costs, and that promotes meaningful dialogue, rather than a collison of anger and fear.

My New Year wishes for 2011, may this be a year of renewed and meaningful dialogue into the meaning of the good society for all Canadians, ethical leadership at all levels of government and media, evidence based policy-making and the return of the long-form census, and if we have an election, a voting turn-out of over 85% and may we begin to regenerate our environment for the future of our children.

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