Thirty days from today Ontarians will cast their ballots to choose our next government. In order to make sure you have all the knowledge and tools you need to make an informed decision, follow this day-by-day Fuse guide to political participation.
Here is your first week’s rundown:
Day 1 – Register to Vote
Today’s task is a simple one, make sure you are registered to vote. You can do that here.
If for some reason you are unable to vote on June 7 there are advance polls, and you can vote by mail and at anytime between today and June 7. Elections Ontario can also provide you with the address to the Returning Office, and you are able to cast your ballot there any time between now and June 7. To make sure things go smoothly make sure you have the proper ID.
Day 2 – An overview of what provincial government is responsible for
So you are registered to vote but, on June 7 what are you even voting for?
Today is all about what the Provincial Government does (and doesn’t ) do.
Your provincial government is responsible for infrastructure including provincial roads and bridges, schools and hospital buildings. Although health care is funded federally, decisions on services can be made at the provincial level.
Your provincial government makes decisions on education both in regards to funding, curriculum and testing. The provincial government also sets rates for individuals receiving Ontario Works and ODSP. You can find more information here.
Day 3 – Find out how Ontario’s voting system works
We have a first-past-the-post system in Ontario and lucky for us TVO created this great little video that helps explain just what that means.
Day 4 – What does the Premier do?
Now that you know a little bit about what the provincial government is responsible for and how governments get elected, let’s take a closer look at what the Premier does.
The Premier is the leader of the party that wins the most ridings in the election on June 7. They drive the agenda of the legislature.
Nationally, they represent the people of Ontario in meetings with the prime minister and other provinces premiers and also on a global stage both with other political leaders as well as regional and global business leaders.
You can find a more detailed explanation of the roles and responsibilities of the Premier here.
Day 5 – What does your MPP Do?
The Premier is the leader of the party that has the most votes, but unless you are living in a riding in which one of the political leaders is running, you don’t actually vote for them.
Rather, you vote for your Member of Provincial Parliament or MPP.
So what is your MPP responsible for?
MPPs are responsible not only to represent the party they ran with but also the constituents in their riding (whether they voted for them or not). MPPs can advocate for additional funding for your region, they can bring to light issues that may be affecting your region and request assistance from parliament.
Within the provincial parliament an MPP may take on additional responsibilities such as becoming a Cabinet Minister or Committee Chair. Regardless of whether they are a member of the party that wins the election, all MPPs can have a meaningful role in provincial government.
Even if the MPP you elect is not a member of the ruling party they can still present private members bills to create policies. MPPs will represent the provincial government at special events within your community. You can learn a bit more about the role of an MPP here.
Day 6 – What do you want for Ontario?
Now that you know what the provincial government is responsible for and the roles of the premier and MPPs, take a few minutes and think about what you want.
What would you like to see the government do in regards to health care services, infrastructure, et cetera?
If you want to see changes/improvements to any of these current systems would you feel comfortable paying a bit more in taxes to pay for more services or would you like to pay less taxes even if it might mean increasing Ontario’s debt load or a reduction in some services?
Do you think corporations should pay more or less taxes? You might want to write down your priorities and as you research more on your local candidates and the different parties see if their platforms/agenda’s match yours?
Day 7 – Rest day – take a break and listen to Fuse’ playlist of political songs
You’ve made it through week one of the challenge – WOO-HOO!
Take a day to catch up on anything you missed or delve a little deeper or just kick back and listen to some politically inspired songs.
Look them up yourself or check out the entire list on Spotify.
Spirit of the West – Political
Cass Mccombs – Don’t Vote
Billy Bragg – Ideology
The Jam – Going Underground
Desparacidos – Radicalized
Lou Reed – Men of Good Fortune
Phil Ochs – I’m going to say it now
Public Enemy – Fight the Power
Immortal Technique – Poverty of Philosophy
Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Elbow – Leaders of the Free World
Pj Harvey – The Community of Hope
Drive-By Truckers – What it Means
Stephen Malkmus – Senator
Radiohead – Electioneering