This is an opportunity for ordinary people to be heard.
We asked six people to be our citizen commentators during the campaign. Each chose an issue they believe in passionately. You'll hear from them between now and the week of the election, and we encourage you to react by adding your comments.
Sarah Petz is in her fourth year of studies at the University of Manitoba, where she works as the news editor of campus newspaper The Manitoban.
September 28, 2011
With this blog I've tried to avoid sounding like the apathetic voice of the student vote (I've already voted, FYI), but in the remaining days before Oct. 4, I can't shake a feeling of boredom I have with this election.
As part of my job, and as somewhat of a political junkie, I've been following election and pre-election news closely for months. Maybe I'm just not grasping the full scope of the issues being presented, I thought. I must be missing something. How can I find the provincial election blasé when I'm the news editor of a weekly publication?
Yet in the past week, I've found that I may not be the only one a little less enthralled with keeping up with the election. In the Winnipeg Free Press, reporter Bartley Kives wrote an excellent column arguing that the Conservatives and NDP have bored "the hell out of the electorate on purpose" by avoiding talking about new ideas that would engage potential voters and instead sticking to a straight and narrow campaign trail.
That means a lot of boasting about how wonderful your government has made the province over the past 12 years from the NDP, and a lot of accusations about how the NDP has not kept to their promises and is making life worse for Manitobans from the Conservatives.
The most interesting debate during this election has been over where to build the Bipole III power line, and that's not necessarily because the parties have been contributing to it in an interesting way. It's because of the level of public discussion on the issue that has arisen during the election, including a forum on the pros and cons of both the east side and west side routes that was held at the University of Manitoba last week.
A recent article in the Globe and Mail also pointed out that for many Winnipegers, this will be the fourth election they've seen in a year, leaving voters worn out after keeping up with election after election.
"If there's one thing all political parties can agree on, it is that the Jets are more popular than the election," David Shorr, director of media relations for the Manitoba Liberal Party, told the Globe and Mail.
It is difficult to determine whether the parties are to blame for voter apathy or if they are competing with a level of voter fatigue that is beyond their control. What I'm more concerned with is how this will affect youth voter turnout, a topic I've written about several times for this blog.
If a political nerd like me is starting to lose excitement with this election, I can imagine many students and non-students alike feeling similarly apathetic. Not a good sign when the youth vote only makes up about a third of overall turnout in the average Canadian election to begin with.
I'm not going to bore you with a line about how young people need to exercise their democratic right to vote but I do feel it's important get youth interested and engaged with the political process when their vote could make a significant impact on the outcome of the election.