Canadian’s take Democracy for Granted

 My 15 year old has missed a ton of school since she got sick in 2008. This was written for her Grade 10 Civics teacher this week and I am very impressed with her work. Would you be able to guess that this writer has missed most of her education due to illness?

 Megan Clermont

Canada was formed in 1867 and at that time was made a Constitutional Monarchy a form of democratic government. Now nearly one hundred and fifty years later many Canadians take our democratic system for granted. With our new world with new technologies it is easy to forget where we started and how easy we have it in comparison to some countries.

 Most of us have our own problems whether they are financial, health or family related. We go about our lives and don’t think of the problems other humans have and we could have. In communist countries such as North Korea the people are told what to do from what to read to what their jobs will be. In countries such as Libya that recently fought a long civil war to remove their leader Muammar Gaddafi leaving many civilians dead in their fight for freedom.

 Us Canadians will likely never have to experience either situation if our government does something we do not agree with we elect a new one, though even our ability to vote can be taken for granted. For example last month Ontario held a provincial election and we had an incredibly low voter turnout of 49%. Less than half of our population voted yet some citizens of Libya were willing to die for the opportunity to vote. Even though so little of our population voted the majority will still complain about our government whether it is about the debt or the lack of jobs. Those who did not vote do take our system for granted especially when they criticize our government who they took no steps to improve

 Currently around the world there are “Occupy the World” protests going on these protests point out the corporate power over the governments of the world. Protests are taking place in nearly every province in Canada. It could be said that these people are taking our system for granted after all they are only able to protest because we live in a democratic society. It could also be argued that these people are merely pointing out the cracks in our democracy that allowed the corporate world to gain so much power.

 My personal opinion on the issue is that we do take our system for granted we use our right to free speech nearly every day whether to protest, watch what we like on television or write comments on the internet. We have the ability to attend government meetings and ask question to our leaders but rarely will the majority of us go. Our world has fought for what we currently have for years yet we still complain about our government. Overall we don’t think about the privileges we have been rewarded that many countries haven’t seen and may not for years to come.

 We take our free health care for granted as well we go to a hospital and complain about the long emergency room wait times even though we can have our lives saved for free. Many people around the world including the United States avoid going to hospitals no matter how severe there issue is because of the cost. When you think about people potentially dying because they can’t afford their countries health care it seems silly to complain about wait times.

 Personally I have experienced the health care system many times in Canada in my life and have had to wait 6 hours in the Hospital for Sick Kids emergency room in Toronto, but in the end I got the care I needed without my single mother worrying about the costs. I know very well if I had lived in another country I would not have had the privilege of that and would’ve had to go without care. 

Canadian also take for granted the funds the government gives out to help certain citizens whether the unemployed, the sick, a parent or a student. Our government is willing to help us survive if we qualify. Though some of the people receiving these benefits claim it is not enough. In other countries they do not help their citizens but take the money for themselves. For example in Libya the former leader Muammar Gaddafi is thought to have been one of the richest people alive.

 Our government having been around for 150 years has developed into something we all take for granted, whether it is free speech health care or the right to access our own government. While we forget about how good we have it people fight around the world just for an opportunity to have what we have.

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One thought on “Canadian’s take Democracy for Granted

  1. Here here Megan … you nailed it. Unfortunately, I have as an election official, seen the apathy of Canadians first hand just getting them ON the voter’s list, whether they use that right or not. Perhaps they need to see the fight for such limited rights that we have in droves. Only then will people see that our rights granted to us aren’t owed, they are EARNED.

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