I just got back from a chat with the campaign office of a political candidate for my riding in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Canadians are about to vote on May 2nd in our 3rd Federal election in about six years. We have had a minority government lead by the Conservative party (equivalent to the US Republican party) for the past 6 years or so. In this situation, the government (Conservatives) and the opposition made up of Liberals (Democrats), New Democratic Party (democrats with a social twist) and the Bloc Quebecois (a party solely dedicated to looking after Quebec issues and wants Quebec to separate from Canada; don’t ask!). A minority government can be defeated by the opposition, which would dissolve the government and cause an election, if the opposition passes a vote of no confidence. This means that the opposition (all parties together) voted against the government, which outnumber the government. Phew! I think I got that right…So we Canadians are voting again to see who will be in power.
Now for the point of my post. There is a responsibility of every individual citizen of a democratic country to educate themselves and vote on the party of their choosing. There is no better time than now for everyone to realize this. Each citizen wants heir country to be a certain way and have specific needs that they hope their government will reach whether it is stimulating the economy or protecting the environment. I, personally, am interested in a government that will protect our environment (especially the Oceans) while balancing the need to maintain and grow the economy.
The current Canadian government’s policies, in my opinion, does not hold a great regard for the environment, so I will be supporting parties that do. Over the past year, I realized the power of social media and how it can educate and raise awareness on various environmental problems. During the BP Oil Spill disaster, I saw hundreds and thousands of people tweeting and facebooking updates on the events and status daily. I saw the power individuals have to influence government and regulators to act on events quickly. People want to Speak Up for the Oceans, hence why I started Speak Up for the Blue; however, it is not only important to just Speak Up in general as there are certain times of the year when we need to direct our discussions to specific people, such as politicians during an election campaign. We need to tell our elected officials and candidates our needs and wants as they campaign or even before they begin to show them what we want and hold them accountable to it.
During my discussion with the campaign workers of one of the Canadian parties, I Spoke Up about one of their promises. Their platform called for better oil spill contingency plans, but they never mentioned how they would prevent an oil spill such as the one that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, which we now know was due to equipment malfunction caused by a lack of maintenance. It would make sense to me to learn from the past mistakes and implement the solutions in new regulations.
So I encourage all Canadians to spend some time to research the platforms of all the candidates and make your decision based on their policies (see links below). I also encourage my American neighbours to research their upcoming presidential candidates for their next election so they are well informed come voting time.
Politics is necessary to ensure laws are implemented AND enforced to safeguard our Oceans and waterways. Get involved in politics to save our Oceans and SPEAK UP to let our politicians know what we want!