Is it time to institute mandatory voting in Canada?

Dear editor

Dear editor

Whoopee, fully 60 per cent of eligible voters in B.C. actually took the trouble to cast their votes in the recent provincial election! And in Courtenay-Comox, even a higher percentage voted – 64 per cent. But is this good enough? Can we be satisfied that well over a third of voters did NOT vote?

The media did a great job covering the election. The parties had three well known and articulate leaders. Major economic, environmental, and social issues were at stake. Yet four out of 10 voters failed to exercise their democratic duty. Surely we should expect more in a mature democracy.

I wonder if it is time to emulate 22 other countries, including our Commonwealth partner Australia, and consider mandatory voting? Sure, there’d be questions of how to monitor a mandatory system, whether to impose fines, and how much, but maybe it would get across to every citizen how important it is to help choose the women and men who will represent us in the provincial and federal legislatures.

When you consider how so many countries around the world have autocratic systems, or no genuine voting at all, I think it is shameful that so many of our fellow citizens seem to regard their citizenship so casually.

Stewart Goodings,


Comox Valley Record