Once upon a time men of thirteen colonies declared there should be no taxation without representation. They had grown tired of an entitled distant group dictating policy that limited their freedom to define their own course. Ignored by the ruling class, the thirteen colonies declared their independence. Independence was relative. Women were chattel and slavery was the law of the new land. Freedom was proscribed.
Those founding fathers overlooked the irony, and continued the corruption that predated their independence. Now however they lined their own pockets…which was righteous. The founding fathers rejected the model of government that suppressed their opportunity to accept bribes and make laws that favoured their friends. They created a system of checks and balances, believing they had a superior system that would prevent oppression by a ruling class to ever occur again.
They institutionalized oppression of all but the male land-owning class. The new system was as open to corruption as the previous. Most importantly they made it virtually impossible to rid themselves quickly of a government that was ineffectual.
Two hundred and some years later. Some wrongs have been righted. Women can vote, slavery is abolished. But a 4 year term has become ineffectual after two years. Lame duck has become a descriptor and special interests buy votes.
Democracy is a myth in America.
I have had a response from Elections Canada to my rant:
Thank you for taking the time to write to us. We take note of your concerns. The dates for advance polls are not discretionary but are instead set by legislation, based on polling day. Subsection 171(2) of the Canada Elections Act provides that an advance polls shall only by open on Friday, Saturday and Monday, the 10th, 9th and 7th days, respectively, before polling day. Since polling day is May 2nd, advance polls were therefore required under the Act to be scheduled for April 22, April 24 and April 25, 2011. Please note that Elections Canada does not set polling day. Pursuant to Section 57 of the Canada Elections Act, polling day is set by a proclamation issued by the Governor in Council (the Governor General), unless it is a fixed election date. Electors have other options which we hope will accommodate their circumstances. They are invited to contact their local Returning Officer (RO) office who can provide electors with information on what their options might be (if they live close by, they could vote in person at the RO office, if they don’t they can also vote by mail), and the staff in the RO office can explain these options and how an elector goes about exercising each one. For the contact information for your local RO office, check our website at the following link and enter your postal code: http://www.elections.ca/scripts/pss/finded.aspx?L=e You can also call 1-800-463-6868 and they will put you through to the local RO office. We regret that we cannot give you a more favourable response.
Canadians have had 4 federal elections in the past 7 years, and some municipal elections too. So I have rich experience when it comes to ensuring an octogenerian can exercise her vote with ease and comfort. If you are new to the caregiver role, here are some invaluable tactics that have made the voting process easier for me and my octogenarian.
I wish I had taken advantage of advance polling decades ago. If you get there early, the queue is short and the voting process is quick. No stress, no fuss. No juggling the duties of work and the responsibilities of citizenship on voting day.
Check the Paperwork
Don’t leave home without checking the paperwork. My octogenarian hasn’t had a driver’s licence for 8 years. Ensuring she has the proper ID for voting can take a bit of time, which she does for herself. But sometimes the paperwork doesn’t get into the handbag. Take a minute before you leave for the polls – saves a lot of time later.
Listen to their Opinions
Your octogenarian has a world view honed by nearly a century of experience. Mine changed countries; was a fire warden in the underground during the Blitz; and has seen innumerable potentates and dictators fall. You don’t have to agree with their POV. But you’ll be a better voter if you’ve listened. And so will they, because inevitably listening leads to discussion.
Make voting a family affair
Get out the cousins, in-laws, siblings and grand-aunts – make a date to vote as a family at the advance poll. Plan to enjoy breakfast at Cora’s – or your favorite pancake house – afterwards. Turn voting into the event it should be.
If we don’t vote – octogenarians or boomers like me – someone is going to come along and invent a system that takes away our individual right to have our say. Don’t give away through indifference your right to vote or your octogenarian’s right to vote.
I missed the announcement. The Canadian federal government declared 2010 the Year of the Home Child. One of my uncles was a home child. An orphan, under the care of the Barnardo organization, at 14 he was shipped to Canada to start a new life with strangers.
His past only memories. The paper trail that could lead my cousins to long lost relatives no more than bread crumbs. I believe I found the first crumb late yesterday after many days of searching. His last name is unusual. I couldn’t find any record of it as he spelled it and passed it on to his children. But I found a variant – the only one on a list of 140 children. It has to be him.
I’ve been through 1000 records of entry. But can’t find the piece of paper that Customs and Immigration should have completed when he arrived in Quebec, aboard Minnedosa in 1923.
I’m going to continue the hunt. The Ancestors in the Attic show followed a Barnardo paper trail, and discovered that a family had been split apart. Siblings sent to different institutions, never to see each other ever again. The year of the Home Child – it’s about time we acknowledged their contribution to our country, and the price they paid.
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The Aviva Community Fund donates a large sum of money to deserving charities. Who the organization helps is determined somewhat by voting. Public voting. Every one who registers gets 10 votes – 1 per day. registrants vote for the “best” idea in a category. My favorite charity – the MLH Youth Fund - is participating. We need all the votes we can get to make it to the next round. If we are one of the finalists we can double the good work we do this year – double it. And it won’t cost you a dime. So please vote – and vote – and vote.