There's an electricity on voting day. As you walk up to your polling station, it's easy to feel a part of something: a community comprised of your neighbours; a citizen who is taking action to cast a vote for someone to represent you, and a part of Canada's future.
However, judging by record low voter turnout in the last federal election, it may be just as easy to feel like you and your neighbour disagree on more than just how often you should water your grass; you might feel disengaged or even hopeless about our country's direction.
In any case, the discussion is important. The process is important. Whether you think Harper has done a great job or think Tom Mulcair should be the leader of our nation---hell, even if you think Justin Trudeau's hair is on-point---learning about the issues that affect you and your community, which parties and candidates reflect your views, and getting informed about the changes happening in our country is important. In a democracy, one of the most direct ways to have your voice heard there is by voting. Voting is important.
Voting is also easy. It only takes a few minutes out of your day (at least based on my personal experience) to go and cast a ballot. You stand in line for less time than it takes to grab a coffee at Starbucks, talk to a few elections officials, mark your ballot, and put it in a box. That's it. Your voice has been heard.
Although looking into this information may feel like a daunting task, you may find it can actually become pretty engaging. You may discover problems you have with current laws; you may change your views on something after being exposed to a new perspective, or you may want to support a particular party or politician. Politics can be engaging if you approach it in the right way and participate in the democratic process.
One of my favourite things about living in a democracy happens when I'm in line to vote. When I can look around and see the girl who works at the grocery store I go to standing a few feet in front of me; standing behind me is someone wearing a suit that probably cost more than my entire month's rent. Everyone there for the same reason. Everyone there with one vote to cast.
Yes, there are problems with our political system, but voting helps you feel like you're a part of something. You can put yourself in the context of a bigger picture, one that is an active part of democracy here in Canada, and maybe even hopeful about the future.