EDITORIAL: Onus on voter to participate

Residents have lots of chances to vote coming, starting with city byelection.

All good runners know it’s a must to warm up before a marathon run.

Voters in Nanaimo have a marathon before them, in the form of elections in 2011, beginning with the city byelection Saturday (March 26) to fill the vacant seat on council left by Larry McNabb’s death last year.

It’s a good warmup for the impending federal election this spring, the provincial referendum on the HST in June, and the municipal election in November (as well as the possibility of a provincial election), and an opportunity to change the habit of apathy that’s plagued elections this century.

The major onus is on the candidates to give constituents a reason to cast ballots. But there’s just as much responsibility on the voters to become informed, involved and most importantly, vote.

The News Bulletin’s ongoing coverage of the byelection is readily available on our website. It’s in big, bold, scary black letters on the front page – you really can’t miss it.

No perfect candidate exists, but voters can decide on who best represents their own values and ideals.

Keep in mind that while Nanaimo voters complain about lack of interest, Canadian fighter jets are escorting Allied bombers on a UN-sanctioned mission in Libya to protect pro-democracy rebels from death at the hands of their dictator.

The opportunity to vote, which many countries like Libya have never had, is something citizens are willing to die for – and many have. It cheapens their memory and belittles their sacrifice to take for granted our democratic laws allowing us to choose our leaders.

We’ll have plenty of opportunity to vote in the coming months. Start with the byelection Saturday.

Nanaimo News Bulletin

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