My mother left India, her home country, at a very young age. She travelled around the Middle East, following my father as he moved from country to country, as his engineering contracts changed. She always told us that she always felt like she missed out on a lot of things because of all of this movement, but one of her main things was the ability to have a say in the workings of a democratic government. Living in the Middle East, she didn’t really have a chance to participate as she wanted.
When we moved to Canada, and we became Canadian citizens, the rest of the family didn’t really think too much of it. But for my mother, it was a chance to participate in the glories of voting and having a say in the election of the leaders of our country. She was ecstatic and her enthusiasm was infectious. In the beginning, my mother used to drag us kicking and screaming to the voting stations. We would complain about the time it took up – we were busy people, with school, work, and a vibrant social life. Even if we were just sitting at home watching dreary sitcoms, we still didn’t realize the importance of the power we had as voters.
When my mother told me the story of how she caught the bug of democracy, I finally understood what drove her to participate. For me, getting my Canadian citizenship was a momentous occasion, only because I was a Canadian citizen, and protected by the Canadian government. I never thought about the power I had now as a potential voter – I now had a say in electing future governments. I decided to volunteer for a city councillor, Anthony Perruzza, after my mother infected me with her political enthusiasm. I enjoyed the experience a lot – I learned more about politics and the inner workings of our government in those 3 months spent canvassing for our city councillor, than I ever had before.
This time around I was an eager beaver. My mother, father and I went to the advanced voting station in our Ward, on Sunday, October 19th. It was my mother who reminded us that it was advanced voting – and even though, she had a sprained ankle, hobbled her way to the voting station to vote yet again. She had been following the mayoral debates as much as she could, with her busy schedule and she knew exactly who she wanted to give her vote to.
This time around I didn’t complain – my mother didn’t have to drag me out to vote. I went willingly. Slowly, but surely, my mother has made me realize the importance of my vote. I have been told that a single vote can change the fate of an election, but I never really believed it before. My vote seemed too inconsequential in the whole scheme of things. But looking at the eagerness of my mother, and how much she believes in the democratic government, I have changed my mind. My vote has the power to change the world and I used that power to vote for the candidate that I believe is the best out of all of the ones that are standing.
I hope that all of you in Toronto have voted in the advanced polls, or will go to vote on Monday, October 27th, for a mayor, city councillor, and public school trustee. It is your one chance to have a say in who runs Toronto for the next four years. Use your chance wisely. Do not squander it.
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