WHAT RESPONSIBILITIES COME WITH DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS?
In Australia and Belgium, once those eligible to vote reach the age of majority, voting is mandatory. Those who don’t like the candidates, can refuse a ballot at the poll.
“Every citizen’s duty is to participate in decision-making.” Australia.
Good for Canada? Any pros? Any cons?
START THE DEBATE!
what is the use of forcing people to vote if they don’t want to. it will not provide a more representative outcome or more engaged citizenry. it may have the opposite effect of driving people further away from being actively involved. if citizens are not engaged with their political system forcing them to vote against their will would only be counterproductive.
more concentration on education about systems of government and social participation would be more effective.
rather than force participation you could might get a better result from restricting participation.
when sectors of society were forcibly disenfranchised ie women, non land owners, slaves there was an active often violent struggle to achieve the right to vote.
another route might be to bar life politicians. no person could stand or be elected more than twice in a lifetime. there would be no ‘vested’ intrests and people might begin to believe that a vote was consequential.
as the system works now politicians promise anything to anyone then only do what is needed to get re-elected the next time. this breeds deep cynicism in the people and drives home that there is no use in voting as nothing changes.
lack of voter interest is a symptom not a cause.
You ask me, a foreigner, if what they do in Australia and Belgium is good for Canada ; I can only say that it would be great for the U.S.A. As for Canada, I can believe it would be a plus. The only change I would make to the law is the ability to refuse a ballot. I am not in favor of the absence of something, such as an blank ballot or a non response to a letter, having a definitive meaning. In Nevada, all election ballots for every position being voted on, there always is a candidate whose name is “none of the above”. Mr./Ms None of the above has never won nor are they allowed win an election. It is a positive way of casting a negative vote. Yet it is a registered vote.