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The Role of Civic Education - My Civic Journey

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One topic that has changed my opinion during the course is the system of voting. To be a citizen of this country, we have certain rights and privileges that we have to always follow. Voting is very important because we have responsibilities to be active in positive change. To vote is to give yourself a voice in a role in positive change. This issue is important to every single one of us as we all have a responsibility to make the world a better place and we have the right to do so through voting. Voting decides who runs the government, both at a local and national level. It allows citizens to choose their representatives. All policies affect each and every citizen, therefore, we all have a duty to leave the world a better place for the next generations.

Before I started this course, I always thought there was no point in voting because I grew up in a family that does not really vote. I was never interested or aware of voting because I thought it was your choice to vote or not. I thought that whoever wants to vote can, but whoever does not want to should not be forced to vote. After reading and watching videos about different people’s perspectives on voting, my opinion has completely changed. The first fact that changed my point of view is when Statistics Canada asked Canadians who didn’t vote in May’s 2011 federal election – where turnout was a near-record low of 61 percent. This opened my eyes that more of us are losing our voting rights and if we do not vote, that will just be the beginning of silencing as many voices in our community as possible. Another fact that changed my mind is in the 2011 election, turnout for voters under age 30 came in at roughly 40 percent — about 20 percent lower than the national average. This means that not a lot of young people voted and when young people do not vote, their interests are not represented in government. I feel like young people become more discouraged with a government that seems to be deaf to their problems as politicians have little incentive to deal with issues that affect them. I realized that everyone should vote because it is very important that everyone’s voices are heard.

There are many ways that this issue can be changed such as; voting should be mandatory, the voting age should be lowered, and the government should also encourage everyone especially the younger generation to vote. The government should make a law that it is mandatory just like in Australia. There will be an increase in voting especially of the younger generation if ever this law is made. Also, if the government lowers the voting age, young people would adopt the voting habits. Organizations can also make a website where people can register to vote and where it also shows the mechanics of voting. Lastly, nonetheless, everyone should be encouraged to vote because this is a time that our voices can be heard even if these suggestions are not granted.

Even though all sections of the Charter are important, my opinion on Equality Rights as being the most valued section has remained the same. Equality rights are the most important Charter because it is the strong base of any fair society where each member has the chance to reach their full potential. Equality prevents any section of a society from stepping on other sections in processes such as community building. Also, it recognizes that other people may need more support than others in order to reach their full potential. Equality does not allow hurtful judgments about particular groups, race, or gender. It is important for everyone to recognize others and themselves as equal.

My opinion on the most valued section of Charter, which is equal rights has not changed because I knew even before I started taking Civics that one person should not have more benefits for being a certain race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or class and this course improved my knowledge about equality. For example, if only white Christian heterosexual upper-class males were allowed to vote, politics would be very biased to making sure these people get what they want, whereas anyone else from a different class, gender, religion, race or sexual orientation would not have a say and would not have their voices heard. Equality, when done properly, is absolute fairness and someone being prohibited from doing something because of any of the above is not a valid reason because none of these things hinder your ability to do anything. Democratic countries promote freedom for all which means everyone and freedom isn’t freedom if some people have more rights and benefits than the rest.

It is important that every student take Civics because it helps students to understand how government works, and it provides people with knowledge about how to influence government as a citizen. Civics can provide students with opportunities to consider local and national civic issues and learn about what an individual can do to create change where problems exist. For example, a big part of the civil rights movement involved the use of the courts and lawyers instead of a revolution to strike down laws related to the segregation of schools. Civics, then, helps students to understand and to influence them on how to act properly and legally about serious matters now and especially in the future.

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