Political engagement is preferable to ‘shunning’

I’d like to respond to Steve Clement’s letter explaining why he’s decided not to vote (‘Political apathy is just a symptom of a deeper problem with our democracy,’ April 7.)

I’d like to respond to Steve Clement’s letter explaining why he’s decided not to vote (‘Political apathy is just a symptom of a deeper problem with our democracy,’ April 7.)

Mr. Clement seems like an educated gentleman, but I wonder if he understands that he is lucky enough to live in a riding where one of those “sincere individuals from the community has stepped up to the political plate…” and continues to work hard every day to defend and expand the rights and freedoms of people like him.

Even the opposing parties respect and admire our MP for his work ethic and integrity. He keeps us updated regularly with reports of how the NDP are fighting bills proposed by the Harper government such as a bill that would make selling herbal supplements at your local health food store illegal, and a bill that would make the possession of even one marijuana plant a serious criminal offence with mandatory jail time.

No, we don’t live in an ideal world where we can vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on every proposal and yes, our system of representation is seriously flawed. If we had a better system, such as the single transferable vote sytem that was defeated in a previous ballot, we wouldn’t have to worry about voting strategically, or that a party with fewer votes can get many more seats, or that we can have a ‘majority government’ elected by a third of the voters.

But guess what? The NDP and Alex Atamanenko would also like to change the voting system and supported citizen’s efforts to get the STV choice put on that ballot.

It’s too bad that more people who want a better system didn’t come out to vote.

I would recommend that if Mr. Clement believes he is living in a totalitarian state where he has no voice and no choices, he should no longer delay “rioting in the streets like in Egypt.” The Harper government was recently caught lying about how much they spent on dozens of stealth fighter planes. Surely it would be wiser to stand up to a dictatorship before they have the chance to further bolster their military!

If Mr. Clement and others think that their decision to “publicly shun” the electoral process presents any kind of meaningful message to anyone, they are only fooling themselves.

Erica Scott

Castlegar