Grab your #VotingBuddies and #VoteHealthy!!

Your Vote Matters

In my early 20s I had a very embarrassing moment once when I tried to talk politics and was scorned for mixing up provincial and federal responsibilities. I can still remember the bright red burn of my face.

Today, I work as a policy wonk and am downright nerdy about politics but that experience gives me some insight into why some people don’t engage in the issues and don’t vote.

When I hear someone say: “why bother voting – they’re all the same” or “what difference will it make?!” – I often wonder if this person has been made to feel ignorant or uniformed because they didn’t articulate their opinions perfectly. Or maybe they’ve just been turned off by the pedantic talking heads or predictable talking points of politicians.

But voting does make a difference and you don’t need a PhD to figure how to vote. All you need is a little bit of time surfing on-line to find out who has an approach or values that best match your own, who you think is going to do the best job or at the very least, who will do the least damage.

Here are some of the federal issues that relate to healthy living:

  • INCOME SECURITY: If you don’t have the security of a good paying job or a regular paycheck it’s hard buy healthy food or be active. This relates to what the parties say they’ll be doing for jobs but also for people who can’t work – so think about employment insurance, old age security and what they’ll do to address poverty.
  • MUNICIPAL INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING: Recreation facilities like arenas, fields and community centres as well as transit, biking and walking paths –allow us to be active in our communities on a regular basis. Here is what the Canadian Federation of Municipalities says are the big priorities.
  • EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT AND CARE: The early years set us on a path in life and a positive start gives us the best chance for future success. The parties differ on whether to invest in all families at the same level, whether to give more to low income parents or whether to invest in childcare. Here is how the Canadian Childcare Federation breaks it down.
  • FIRST NATIONS: The life expectancy of First Nations people is between five and seven years shorter than that of non-Aboriginal Canadians and this is not surprising given the depressing fact that half of First Nations children live in poverty. Here is what the Assembly of First nations says could be done to close the gap.

Even though we haven’t heard much debate on the health of Canadians in this election, health organisations have been trying to get a discussion going. The Canadian Diabetes Association has recommended a Tax on Sugary Drinks. The Canadian Cancer Society has called for strengthened Tobacco Control Strategy with plain packaging and more investment in health research. And the Heart and Stroke Foundation has been asking for candidates to commit to health and citizens to #VoteHealthy.

Now it’s your turn. Learn about the positions of the Conservatives, Greens, Liberals and New Democrats and find out about the candidates in your area.

And on Monday, October 19th grab your #VotingBuddies and #VoteHealthy!!

Rita Koutsodimos
Manager, Advocacy and Communication

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