What is so special about this election? – My point of view as an Immigrant

The Canadian election holds today, Monday 20th September 2021, and is one for my books.  I’m currently experiencing this in Saskatchewan. Although I have traveled to about ten countries for work and vacation, I have never witnessed an election. I am excited to finally get my first experience.

 

I arrived in Canada on the 11th September 2021, and heard about the upcoming elections. With the situation of things back at home because of the government, I looked forward to being very close to this. Sadly, I could not get vaccinated before leaving Nigeria, which meant I had to quarantine for 14 days and would not experience the elections physically.

Flight Ticket- Photo by Penuel Chuks-Emmanuel

It is no news that we are in the middle of a pandemic, and the election is still going to hold. I am curious to see how it will play out with the strict COVID-19 rules.

Not being present physically is not going to stop me, so I did some personal research. I learnt that there are six parties represented: The Liberal party, The Conservatives, The New Democrats, The Quebec nationalist, The Green party of Canada, and The People’s Party of Canada. This was unlike back home, where you could have 100 parties represented in an election because of the multi-party system.

There are also different methods by which the people here can cast their votes. They could vote earlier using a special ballot; they can also vote via mail, online, and in-person. They used to set-up polling stations on campuses, but none this year, so interested students have to go to the polling station.

 

From my research, it also looks like the voting process is a bit more organized, and there is sanity at polling stations to a large extent. The results will also be ready by Tuesday at the latest, which is fast in my opinion. Considering these results will go through scrutiny to ensure people did not use two processes to vote and the likes.

 

As an immigrant, I could not help but wonder if my opinion mattered and how I could be included even though I am ineligible to cast my vote.

Photo of Penuel Chuks-Emmanuel by Penuel Chuks-Emmanuel

Apart from witnessing a foreign election for the first time, this experience is enjoyable because I am used to elections happening differently. I am used to seeing people not eager to vote, unbothered about the process, and you cannot blame them. However, everyone here has been looking forward to it; there is a lot of buzz,  and people preparing to cast their vote. I mean, Elections Canada record shows that nearly 5.8 million Canadians have voted over the four days of advance polling that ended on Monday. I am amazed at the eagerness and it got me thinking there must be something extraordinary about this.

 

I also realized that the election process is critical and should be treated as such. If I have the right to elect whom I deem fit to lead me, then participating will go a long way. Indeed elections are important.

 

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