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Donwtown Peterborough | Photo Credit: Rishabh Joshi

Transit, Housing, and Pure, Unadulterated Spite: Reasons to be Annoying and Vote

Written by
Alyssa Scanga
and
and
October 16, 2022
Transit, Housing, and Pure, Unadulterated Spite: Reasons to be Annoying and Vote
Donwtown Peterborough | Photo Credit: Rishabh Joshi

If you’ve spent longer than five minutes in my presence, you probably know that I excel at being annoying. Specifically, I excel at annoying elected officials by holding them accountable about the environment and politics. When it comes to the upcoming municipal election on October 24th, I’m asking all of you to be annoying too. Out of federal, provincial and municipal elections, municipal elections typically have the lowest turnout. Youth now make up the largest voting bloc in Canada, although youth voter turnout has historically been low. Ergo, if students vote en masse, our votes basically decide the election. 

In this essay I will … Just kidding. Instead of bombarding you with statistics and hypotheticals, here is a less formal list of reasons you really should vote: 

  • Buses that don’t get cancelled every five seconds leaving you stranded at Bata Library twenty minutes before your lecture at Traill. Public transit is a municipal government responsibility. They decide how much funding it gets based on their constituent’s priorities. I don’t know about you, but I personally prioritise not getting trapped downtown at the terminal. Wouldn’t it be nice, not having to wake up and check Peterborough Transit’s twitter account to see if your bus is on the list of fifteen random buses not running that day? 
  • Housing that is accessible and not five gazillion dollars. Affordable, adequate housing is a municipal government responsibility. No one should have to live in a shelter or in a tent because they can’t find housing. The decision as to how that housing will be built is also municipal jurisdiction. Will it be giant cookie cutter houses that ten students combined couldn’t afford even if they ate nothing but ramen for the rest of their degrees, or will it be built for all the people in this city who need it? 
  • Not having our city constantly fucked over by derechos, heatwaves and other climate change-fuelled environmental disasters. Climate change mitigation and adaptation are municipal government responsibilities. Local governments have more jurisdiction here than you may think, and local climate initiatives are often more successful than vague promises at the federal and provincial levels. In my experience as a longtime climate activist and all-around pain in the ass: federal and provincial politicians like to talk, but it’s the folks at the local level who get shit done. 
  • Harm reduction initiatives like outreach programs, safe consumption sites, food banks and shelters for the unhoused. Municipal council directs funding to essential services like these, as well as paramedics and the fire department. They also vote on funding (or defunding, if we apply enough pressure) the police. Everything we need to have a functioning society based around community care. 

It’s incredibly easy to vote in municipal elections. In Peterborough, you can do it online. And if you’re a student, you can vote in Peterborough and your hometown as long as you have a valid address in both, so make sure to double your impact! 

Making sure Peterborough’s government represents the diverse lived experiences of the people who live here. Our needs deserve to be a priority for lawmakers. This is our city too, and we can help elect people who act like it. 

Doing even five minutes of research before you vote gets you engaged in municipal politics and makes you more likely to stay engaged in the future. A lot of the time when the people in power get away with doing shady shit, it’s because no one is paying attention. But we’ll be watching. (Like that grouchy desk lady from Monsters Inc.) 

And if you’re largely motivated by spite, that’s completely valid. Honestly, casting your vote just so Tom “I don’t believe that the scientific community is in consensus that we are experiencing a ‘Climate Emergency’... I stand with thousands of scientists who don’t agree that CO2, a trace gas in the atmosphere, is responsible for the earth’s naturally occurring climate cycle” Wigglesworth is miserably defeated in Monaghan Ward 2. I mean, can you imagine having your community represented by Tom Wigglesworth the climate denier? In 2022? Talk about a hot mess. And I thought I was annoying.

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"Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system."
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