Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Canada General Election 2015

Ready to Vote image

Next week, Canadians will cast their ballots in another federal election, the 42nd Parliament since Confederation in 1867. The advance polls were this past weekend, with election day on Monday, October 19.

I received my VIC (Voter Information Card) last week, and I plan on being at my polling station come election day.

Rolls of Voter Information Cards next to printer

With this event in mind, I decided to record my memories of past Canadian elections by using “prompts dealing with your memories of elections and politics” at FamilyHistoryProducts. Written from a U.S. perspective, I’ve adapted the prompts for me as a Canadian.

List the [federal] elections that have happened during your lifetime?

I didn’t know the answer to this question, so I checked out “History of Federal Ridings since 1867” at Parliament of Canada. It turns out that there have been 17 general elections since I was a little girl, from the first one in June 1962 to the last one in May 2011.

Of those elections that you remember, what do you remember most about each?

The first election I remember was the June 1968 one, when I was ten years old. Of course, I was too young to know anything about politics and elections, but I watched the incoming results on television in our living room. I got caught up in the moment and when the winner was announced, I went outside and shouted (but not very loudly), “Trudeau won! Trudeau won!” I had no idea who Pierre Elliott Trudeau was, but he won, so I thought that must be a good thing. My enthusiasm was brief, however, because Dad heard me and told me to get back inside. He never believed in letting anyone know his political opinions and wasn’t about to let the neighbors think he approved of our new PM.

The next election I remember was in May 1979. It was the first time I was able to vote in a federal election, and I was thrilled to participate. I was eligible to vote since 1976 when I turned 18, but that was between the July 1974 and the May 1979 elections.

As for all the other elections since then, I don’t remember much about them, other than being disappointed that my vote didn’t count most years.

Which election was the first that you participated in (actually voted)?

The first time I voted in a federal election was in May 1979. I wasn’t sure what I thought about the various parties (Liberal, Progressive Conservative, NDP), so I considered voting the way Dad did. It wasn’t because he told us (Mom, my sister and I) how to vote, which he never did, but he explained why he chose a particular party and why he thought it was a good one. At some point, I decided that being almost 21, I’d be independent from him, so I voted for a different party that year.

On [May 2, 2011], [Stephen Harper] was [re-elected] as [Prime Minister of Canada]. What are your thoughts?

Well, I wasn’t happy. I was disillusioned with the Conservatives, and really hoped the Liberals or the NDP would win. It was exciting to think that for the first time in Canadian history the New Democrat Party became the official opposition, though. (In past years, it was almost always either Liberal or PC.)

Have you ever participated/volunteered (or wanted to) in a political campaign of any kind? Give details!

One year in the mid- to late-1970s, I volunteered at the local office of the Progressive Conservative party, because my friend and her mother, who supported the candidate, asked me to give them a hand. It was for a provincial election, though. I can’t remember what I did, but I probably put up posters, handed out flyers, that kind of thing. I wasn’t necessarily a firm believer in the PC, but it gave me something to do for a few weeks.

What about you, readers? What are your memories of past elections?

Images credit:

“Newsroom: Media”, Elections Canada (http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=med&document=index&lang=e : accessed 11 October 2015) and “Newsroom: Multimedia”, Elections Canada (http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=med&dir=gall&document=index&lang=e : accessed 11 October 2015).

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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