Okay, so I think politics are interesting every day of every year, but most Canadians would completely disagree. And I can understand why most would feel this way. But this year should be different. Here’s four reasons why.
1. So many chances to vote. There are so many different elections and votes happening across Canada this year. There are provincial elections in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, PEI, Newfoundland and NWT. In Alberta and BC, no matter what your political stripe, you can have your say in who leads your favourite party with multiple party leadership votes both provinces. And of course, the rumour mill is swirling over a possible federal election this spring. Many opportunities to make your voice heard.
2. Something might actually change. With so many votes and elections happening this year and many of the old guard retiring, there will be a whirlwind of political change happening provincially and federally. After years of snoozeville politics and election campaigns (even by political junkie standards), it will be refreshing to see some fresh faces and maybe some different parties at the helm.
3. Social media is Campaigning 101. While only a handful of candidates have effectively used social media in past elections, social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) has become Campaigning 101 – an automatic requirement. Case in point – Alberta PC leadership candidate Alison Redford announced her bid with her first ever tweet. The use of social media in election campaigns brings with it the potential to engage a whole new class of voters that previously didn’t care and didn’t vote, and the potential for exciting upsets (i.e., Naheed Nenshi in Calgary’s 2010 election and Don Iveson in Edmonton’s 2007 election). I can’t wait to see how social media will be better used by candidates at the provincial and federal level.
4. There’s a reason to watch commercials. While the jury is still out on whether political attack ads have a positive or negative impact on voters, our voter turnout rates in this country are abysmal and disheartening. Political attack ads have been the norm in other countries for years – and those jurisdictions get way more people to the ballot box than we do in Canada. I think that anything that engages Canadians to think about politics and voting is a good thing and if personal political ads do that, so be it.