The Youth Vote

“I get to vote, Daddy,” Elena tells me.

She starts the conversation at the point she always does. I exit her grandparents driveway, turn right to get to the end of the street, then left onto the sidestreet and we are on our way home. It’s about thirty seconds after turning left that she asked her questions.

“Oh, really?” I say indulgently.

“Well, not really,” she said, mocking my tone. “We’re too young. We’re doing a mock vote in the classroom.”

That reminded me of some of the the things I loved about her school. Her and Reid have been lucky enough to have had some good teachers in their years there.

“Who are you voting for?”

At this point, I had known about the issue regarding tariffs between Canada and the U.S. And, working in automotive, this would have an impact on our family. I didn’t want to tell her this because I didn’t want to scare her.

“Not sure yet.”

“How should I vote? I mean, we are doing research in the class so we can make a good decision, but I think I’ve already made up my mind. Doug Ford.”

“Why Doug Ford?”

At this point, Reido had tuned out. He found his “Ninjago” book much more interesting. I glanced at him in the rearview mirror. He had that stoic cast to his face that told me his mind was inside his book.

“He says he’s going to fire the head of Hydro,” Elena went on to explain.

“And what problem does that solve?” I asked.

“Well, we pay alot for Hydro, right? So if we fire the guy who is in charge, maybe the new guy in charge will make a difference.”

“Will that solve all of our problems?”

“No,” she agreed. “But it’s a start.”

My smart kid uses my arguments against me to get me to capitulate.

“So, you think that one of our problems is Hydro, and firing the head of Hydro will solve that problem, right?”

“Well, yeah. Isn’t that the problem?”

“Honey, this is a call you have to make. If you think Hydro is a problem, then using that line of argument is acceptable. But you need to figure out what problem Hydro needs to solve and you need to figure out if the guy who promises to fire the head of Hydro will follow through with his promise.”

“The problem with Hydro is it’s too expensive. Don’t we have Niagara Falls? Doesn’t it generate most of our electricity? Why are we selling it off when we can use it here to power our homes for less.”

I love my smart kid. And I have to admit, I didn’t know enough to say if she was right or wrong.

“When you research the problem, find that out for yourself. So that’s good, you have your main issue. And you have the solution – the guy who is in charge of Hydro is causing a problem. And, the guy to kick off that change is Doug Ford, right?”

“Absolutely,” she said.

We wound around the highway on ramp at high speed. The kids like the sensation. I like to oblige my kids. I got up to speed and resumed the conversation.

“Do you trust Doug Ford?”

“He said he would do it.”

“Doesn’t mean he will. Politicians make promises all the time. You vote them in because they have a track record of following through on past promises. If they lack that track record, you need to judge them based on their integrity.”

“Integrity is the sum of all character traits,” Reid piped up from the back. He turned the page. “It’s the most important thing.” Looks like he was paying attention after all.

“So, yeah, maybe Doug Ford speaks to your issue. But when you do your research into the issue, be sure to check into him and see what he has accomplished. If all he has done is talked and talked and done nothing, then you have to ask yourself if he will work for you. That doesn’t just go for him. Goes for all of them. None of them have good track records.”

Liberals have been in power for what, sixteen years? Look what Wynne has done to the province. And Angela Horvath can’t balance a spreadsheet. I know a thing or two about spreadsheets. I often say there are three types of lies:

  1. Lies
  2. Damned Lies
  3. Spreadsheets

It’s a paraphrase of Mark Twain – I replaced ‘statistics’ with ‘spreadsheets’.

We chatted more on the way home – about her friends and her other projects and all of the things that a schoolkid should really be thinking about.

Then it dawned on me.

My daughter wants to be prepared for the election and she isn’t even old enough to vote. She is taking her responsibility as a citizen seriously, so when it comes time, she will be ready.

I can only hope that one day I grow up to be as smart as her.

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