Voters in Ponoka and Alberta fail to exercise their democratic right

Happy Wednesday after Election Day Ponoka! If you woke up this week and realized that the Conservatives were re-elected and you didn’t vote and are unhappy with this whose fault is that?

Happy Wednesday after Election Day Ponoka! If you woke up this week and realized that the Conservatives were re-elected and you didn’t vote and are unhappy with this whose fault is that?

If you were too busy or forgot to vote or didn’t know who to vote for you can’t blame anyone but yourself. Voter turnout in Ponoka was disgraceful, only 45 per cent of eligible voters voted. There is no excuse for not voting, there are so many options to vote in advance polls, mobile polls and voting was open all day, it was and is your democratic right to vote for someone. For those who did vote you are to be congratulated for exercising your right.

“The fact that a man is to vote forces him to think. You may preach to a congregation by the year and not affect its thought because it is not called upon for definite action. But throw your subject into a campaign and it becomes a challenge,” said John Jay Chapman an American lawyer and author in the late 1800s. The challenge in this election was to engage oneself in the election process by investigating the issues, candidates and taking 15 minutes out of your day and vote.

Throughout history voting was fought for and desired as a right that not all were privileged enough to have. In Western Canada in the early 1900s the Famous Five fought for women’s right to vote. It is hard to imagine in today’s society that women were not allowed to vote or to hold office. Susan B. Anthony an American who led the charge to secure the right for women to vote, once said “Suffrage is the pivotal right.” After this week’s election voters in Ponoka and in Alberta, which had a dismal turnout of only 44 per cent of eligible voters ignored the pivotal right of voting.

It was once said, “Citizens will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in an election.” If this is true we have failed the men and women who fought for our right to vote. We have not remembered their sacrifices that they paid for us and our pledge to never forget what they went through during First and Second World Wars. How can you look a veteran in the eye if you did not take up their torch and vote. Or what about the Canadian men and women who are currently stationed in Afghanistan protecting democracy? This week the 79 Canadian soldier died fighting so men and women can vote something that many eligible voters in Alberta took for granted.

The great American president John F. Kennedy was a strong fighter for people’s rights and once made this statement “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” It is our responsibility to make sure that when one is called upon you take action.

Challenges

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ray Prins was given a huge win and now must face many challenges ahead. Ponoka Composite High School and the hospital are both in need of repairs and upgrades, Ponoka is longing for a new agriculture centre that will surely need financial support from the provincial government and Ponoka’s biggest attraction the stampede could also use some financial support for upgrades. Prins needs to continue to fight for Ponoka and help the residents with these pressing issues.

All the candidates who ran for office should be congratulated for their hard work and dedication for accepting the challenge of campaigning for office and working towards making a difference in our community.

Kennedy also issued this challenge in his inaugural address in 1961 “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” This statement echoes into our province and what we can do to change the province for the better. It is important for the residents of our town to let their voice be heard, if you are concerned with something contact our MLA or Town or County council and let your voice be heard.