By Franco Savoia
Last Saturday, with many other fellow Calgarians, I went to my local library and voted in our municipal election advance poll.
I have always felt that this is a fundamental responsibility for each of us as citizens. And yet we know that in recent memory, 39 to 53 per cent of Calgarians exercised this vital act as citizens — so at our best, only half of our city’s eligible voters bothered to vote.
Pericles, a statesman, orator and general in Athens, more than 2,500 years ago, said, “We do not say that a man who takes no interest in public affairs is a man who minds his own business. We say he has no business being here at all.”
Even in those early days in the evolution of democratic principles, there was a recognition that we need to be informed and engaged in our government. One important action is to vote. In the act of casting our ballot, we affirm our citizenship, our commitment to our community and to our neighbours.
The opening words of Enough for All — Calgary’s poverty reduction strategy — are “our neighbour’s strength is our strength.” Conversely, our neighbour’s weakness and omissions are my weakness and omissions. When we vote, we affirm our commitment to ourselves and to our community. The very act strengthens and helps to increase our connection to our neighbour. Our failure to get out and vote weakens our entire community.
We know that one in 10 Calgarians is living in scarcity: they don’t have enough income to meet their basic needs. We estimate that at least one in four are working poor: they are earning less than a living wage and thus also struggle each day to meet their housing, food and transportation needs.
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Source:: Calgary Herald