Contributed by Karen Joan Watson — We live in a strange world. But Canada has advantages during this time of Covid-19, climate crisis, democracies under pressure, social injustice and long-term care emergencies.

During Covid, our federal government quickly gave out CERB (a form of universal basic income during crisis) and business grants and loans to keep our country functioning. Caring people provide support for refugees and immigrants from around the world. We Canadians are acting on reconciliation calls to action. We put time and money into affordable housing, infrastructure and progressive government.

Are we going in the right direction? Yes, but… Are we changing fast enough? Not for some. Progress requires balancing a functioning economy and environment, while addressing decades of wrongs that need righting.

With a Canadian federal election imminent this Fall, people with genuine grievances and needs will assess what has been done and will want more (for example, Indigenous peoples, our Black population, those in the way of forest fires, flooding, our elderly). That is good, because there is more to be done. And the next five years are pivotal in terms of climate change policy and climate-sensitive diseases.

I hear people say, “It doesn’t matter who I vote for, they’re all the same.” That’s the kind of thinking that gave the world the orange-hairpiece-down-south.

It matters that we vote for EFFECTIVE progress. Anyone can promise and say what you want to hear. Can this person deliver? Is their track record to deny or cut services, to belittle and cut off those who are vulnerable? Or do they overpromise and fall flat, knowing they won’t be held responsible to pay?

Listen to those who are motivated, have a track record, and belong to a team that produces. Don’t throw out a team because they aren’t moving fast enough.

It matters that we vote. If you’re feeling cynical, it matters that the less-bad choice wins.

Karen Joan Watson, BA, BFA, co-author of a bestselling anthology, Voices of the 21st Century: Resilient Women Who Rise and Make a Difference, is an active visual artist, a writer, and previously a Government of Canada marketing manager. She is currently synthesizing life-and-death experiences and a sense of belonging.

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