Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – June 28, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – June 28, 2004 – Election Day in Canada. This one is supposedly too close to call so taking the time to vote is essential. The “x” on my ballot, even though it’s supposed to be a secret, is going to be for Jack Layton. It’s time for a change in Riverdale. As I passed some of my neighbours on the way to the polling station this morning, we commented that we were on our way to exercise our right to vote.
If you don’t vote you can’t complain. Even when I’m totally disillusioned with municipal, provincial or federal politicians (which is often – they are often smug and arrogant, they forget who pays their salaries and who they’re supposed to be working for) – I always take the time to vote.
Sometimes for the man as in today (NDP) and sometimes for the party (Liberal). I don’t have a Conservative bone in my body. We have a colourful political scene in Canada right now – Red Liberals, Blue Tories and the Green Party. The Bloc in Quebec thrown in to keep the rest of Canada on her toes.
As I was walking back home this morning from the church where I voted, I thought about the great privilege of voting for government representatives, and how hard won that right has been, not only for women in Canada, but around the world. In Canada women won the right to vote federally on May 24, 1918 with The Women’s Franchise Act.
In Ontario women earned the vote on April 12, 1917. Quebec was way behind the times – women couldn’t vote there until 1940. We owe a profound debt of gratitude to the women who organized the Toronto Women’s Literary League in 1886 to fight for women’s suffrage. I remember British history class and discussions of Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, who fought tirelessly for the rights of women. Women started to lobby for the right to vote in England in the 1860’s but it wasn’t until 1928 that they succeeded.
If you’re ever playing the “poor me game”, take a moment to remember all the women who have gone before you. Women who demanded and fought for the right to vote, for equal rights, for equal pay, for the right to make decisions about their own bodies and for the right to participate in life as an equal player.
At times, I take a lot for granted and I need to remember that the life I enjoy and the rights I hold dear were not always mine. Pay attention women – we can do so much together – our collective strength is unlimited if we work together, play together, have pride in our femininity, the confidence to speak our minds and be true to our hearts. If you haven’t yet learned this – women are incredible!
It’s eleven o’clock in the evening now and it’s clear that the Liberals are going back in with Paul Martin at the helm. The NDP will hold the balance of power, making it a minority Liberal government. With any luck the Grits learned something from the Sponsorship Scandal and perhaps they will now treat the Canadian public with more respect. Paul Martin has an opportunity to be a good Prime Minister and I hope he takes this renewed trust seriously.