Voters call for change

Numbers are funny little things.

They can be used to someone’s advantage, or another’s disadvantage. When used as statistics they can be skewed, manipulated, and even ignored.

But most of all, they tell a story. And today, the numbers speak loud and clear about the past, present and future of Canadian politics.

People are talking about low voter turnout, the lowest in Canadian history. But so what? Those who bothered to find a polling station collectively sent a message to Ottawa, and it was clearly one that called for change.

Change to Harper’s minority government, which ruled our country for seven long, and politically turbulent, years.

Change for the once much-beloved Liberal Party, which manifested in a crash and burn exit for Michael Ignatieff, who bowed out of leadership on Tuesday morning.

Change then, too, for the official Opposition — which could only be described as an apparent new trust in Jack Layton. His ‘Orange Crush’ swept the nation Monday night, surprising even the most prepared pollsters.

And finally, change even within the fringe, with Green Party leader Elizabeth May winning her seat and earning a seat in Parliament.

Canadians spoke up and said that the Green Party matters, while the Bloc does not.

It’s a promising time for Canada, and a promising time for democracy.

Maybe less than 60 per cent of Canadians voted in this election. In this riding, the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, the number was 58.8 per cent, not counting those who registered on Monday.

It’s a small percentage of eligible voters, but not insignificant.

It means 49,189 people got off their couches, took the time off work, or planned ahead and voted in advance. It means almost 50,000 people from here to Lillooet cared enough about Canada to make themselves heard.

Whether you like the outcome or not, it’s a beautiful thing.

It’s democracy, and it works.

Perhaps, with the changes that have been seen this week, more of us will take the time be heard in four years. Four — either a big number, or a small one, depending on who you’d like to have seen leading us.

-Agassiz-Harrison Observer