Civic Responsibility

Voting as a tool for engagement with youth.

A Provincial election has been called in Ontario.  This is an opportunity for those 18 and over living in the province to have a direct impact on who will establish the policies and fund programs for us for the next few years.

Why does it matter?

The Ontario government is responsible for a variety of areas that affect the day to day life of families.  Principle among these are education, health care, social services and transportation.  The individuals elected through this process will have the power to determine how tax money is collected and distributed based on their priorities.

The challenge for voters      

In an effort to win over voters, candidates often make promises about what they will do to make our lives better.  There have already been conversations about reducing Hydro bills, gas prices and taxes.  There are also promises to increase programming with dental benefits, prescription drugs, and more.

Such promises can be very appealing for various groups.  The challenge, however, is to continually dig deeper and ask the hard questions.

  • What do these promises cost? – for example, the provincial government’s control over gas prices is limited to taxation, cutting the cost thus means less money in the government coffers for programming.
  • Who do they benefit? – for example, universal dental care means that those with low incomes, seniors and those without benefits can more easily access a dentist, but such programs must be funded somehow.
  • What will need to be done to fulfill these promises? – for example, reducing hydro costs may mean reducing efforts to transform our energy supplies into greener processes thus failing to decrease our environmental footprint and contributing further to climate change which will have long term implications for our children and grandchildren.

An opportunity for families…

There are always deeper questions to raise in an attempt to unpack what candidates are promising.  This becomes an interesting opportunity to engage young people who have become particularly adept at researching.  Consider the possibilities for conversations about the political system, ‘fake news’ and our responsibility.  By engaging young people today, we increase the likelihood that they will participate in the electoral system once they turn 18.

Thrive! A living manual for families uses the tools of social media and food and fellowship to facilitate conversation about the blessings and challenges of being family today.  Check out http://stpaulstrinity.org/?page_id=2100 for more information or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ThriveFamiliesManual/