Vote for your health!

ballotboxBy Paola Ardiles & Patrick Lee

No matter what your political colours, voting is an important step you can take to promote the health and well-being of your family and community.  On Monday October 19th, 2015, Canadians will have a chance to use their voice to shape their next federal government. There are many issues at stake that directly impact your health and wellbeing: pharmacare, childcare, climate change and of course the economy.

Voting is one of the most fundamental actions a citizen takes in a democracy. The act of voting is both a right and responsibility, and the extent to which citizens choose to exercise those rights and responsibilities is often seen as an indication of the health of a democracy. Indeed, voter turnout is one of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing‘s (CIW) headline indicators of democratic engagement. The CIW is a measure of quality of life that incorporates indicators in eight key categories, including democratic engagement, health, education and environment. CIW is emerging as an alternative to GDP as a measure of wellbeing in Canada. Bridge for Health recognizes the holistic nature of health and the importance of democratic engagement, among other factors, in the health of individuals and communities.

Election day is the one day, every few years where regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, and social and economic status, each citizen has an equal voice in shaping the direction of his or her community and society at large. Each ballot is equal to every other ballot cast. Casting that ballot is an expression of self-determination and participating in the electoral process empowers individuals and their communities. Voting gives voice to those who are historically marginalized in political conversations.

We have reasons to be sceptical. Many groups of people continue to be marginalized. For example it is difficult for the homeless to vote, as they do not have the necessary proof of address. We also know that media is controlled, voter suppression tactics can be used, and attack ads can be created. Yet, ordinary people have the power of social connections. Have a conversation about voting with someone you know who does not usually vote. Share why voting is important to you. Share your views on social media, talk to a neighbour, your doctor, your mentor. You can make a difference!

Visit the different political party websites to find out more the candidates commitments and ensure you visit Elections Canada to get informed about the ID required and your polling stations.

Vote with conviction, stand for your values and get out there early. Don’t miss the opportunity to show the world what kind of Canada we want to build for the future.

More information related to #elxn42 at:

Promote the Vote Non Partisan movement promoting civic engagement in Canada

#Vote4Health campaign video

The College of Family Physicians of Canada election platform summary

Canadian Public Health Association  election tool kit