North Americans have had it too easy

Until policies directly affect people, most won't get involved

Editor, The Record:

Robocalls! It seems to conjure an image of R2D2 with a headset and for many of us, the reaction has been, “Meh.”

There is nothing wrong with robocalling, per se — except being as annoying as a Facebook game request — it’s actually used for many legitimate uses when mobilizing the troops is needed.

The current scandal in this riveting season of parliamentary screw-ups is what appears as using robocalls to confuse known non-supporters of the Tories; and unlike our American cousins, Canadians don’t always “lemming” their way to the polling station.

Now the public is aware and pundits are up in arms about this onslaught on democracy by the governing party, but the public’s apathy about the whole thing is the real danger.

Ever since the Second World War, voter apathy has been on the rise and complaining about politicians has become Canada’s favourite hobby. And although the comments from armchair voters fly in all directions, the average Joe feels powerless, stays at home and abandons politics like an Italian cruise ship captain.

They do things differently in Europe — they vote. France, for example, has around an 80 per cent-plus turnout. They also demonstrate on a regular basis making sure to remind the government that the public is in charge and watching. Here, we order pizza on a regular basis and watch our waistlines grow; maybe a protest walk every now and then would help with the battle of the bulge. Another side effect would be that you might actually learn what really goes on in your country, and not just what Taylor Swift said in Cosmo.

Europe has seen the descent of their government into totalitarianism and fascism, they don’t want to repeat the experiment; here in North America, we’ve had it easy.

And maybe that’s what’s wrong here. We take it for granted. We’re complacent, lazy and unwilling to budge unless we are directly affected.

All the decisions made in Ottawa do affect us. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, not a large Hawaiian extra cheese and a CSI marathon; otherwise we will never grow as a nation, only our debts, scandals and waistlines will.

Kevin Francis

Mission