by Joe Durocher
One of the most common mentalities that I have seen and heard over the years when it comes to elections, is the mentality of believing that your vote will not make a difference because it is only one vote.
Please watch the video below before reading this article. The video is a visual of what we have often seen happen, which is candidates time and time again, winning or losing elections by very small margins.
At the end of 2018, I was a part of Toyin Crandall’s campaign team. She was running for the Federal Nomination in the Chatham-Kent-Leamington riding for one of the parties. There were 4 candidates who were running, with Toyin being the sole pro-life candidate who said she would advocate for the unborn. The other 3 candidates said they would fall into line with the parties current position of leaving abortion as a non issue. This fact alone should have been a decision maker for any Christian who planned to vote, seeing as all 4 candidates had credentials to handle the position.
As this was a nomination election within a party, people were only allowed to vote if they had purchased a minimum of a one year membership which cost $15 per person.
Your vote in a nomination election is very powerful; as the voter turnouts are smaller because many people will not purchase memberships to vote. People do not see the importance between picking a candidate within a party and not as many people are even aware that there is a vote as they are not as well advertised or talked about.
A common misconception is that all candidates within a party are basically the same. This is very far from the truth and often nomination votes carry just as much of an impact as the main Federal election and in some cases it carries an even greater impact because candidates within the same party, in the same riding, can be very opposite in their beliefs. A great example of this is within the Conservative Party. There are pro-life candidates as well as pro-choice candidates. If a majority of the candidates were pro-life and were willing to advocate for the unborn you can guarantee that before long, we would see this become a platform within the Conservative Party. The support and push for any agenda to be taken seriously, especially when it comes to Godly social issues, the push needs to come from the voices of the voters. We can’t expect a handful of Godly candidates to be able to bring about change with any issue without our support. Powerful, lasting change needs to begin and be pushed from the voices of the citizens.
As Christians, we should value the life of the unborn and deep down in our hearts truly want to see those lives protected and honoured. The only way that will happen is if laws are in place to protect them. We live in a country without one single law in regards to abortion.
We live in a democracy, with free elections which allows us the opportunity to have a say in what happens to the unborn and most other issues. Common sense says that as Christians, we would acknowledge this, make the commitment to vote at a very minimum and choose to vote for candidates that are committed to protecting the unborn and who are committed to stand for Godly principles to govern our country.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case in many of the ridings throughout Canada. Most Christians say that they are against abortion, they say it is horrible, they may even pray for the unborn or God’s will to be done, but they may not be willing to pay $15 for a membership to vote within a nomination election or even if they are, when the time comes to go vote they may not want to rearrange their schedule to go vote, many feel tired, sick or not want to miss a church conference going on in the neighboring town, etc. I use the church conference example as this happened during Toyin’s nomination election where several people didn’t come to vote because they didn’t want to miss any parts of the conference that was happening on the same 2 days as the voting. We talked to many supporters who were so confident in Toyin winning that they didn’t feel that their vote would make a difference.
Toyin was by far the most dynamic speaker of the 4, with the best resume in policy experience and it was widely speculated that she was going to win. The election was done by the weighted ballot system which means that each voter can vote on candidates based on who they would choose as their #1 choice to win and then #2, #3, in order right down to who they would choose #4 since there were 4 candidates on the ballot.
After the voting was finished it was time to count the votes and I was our campaigns ballot counter as each campaign was only allowed one counter in the room.
The first round of counting began with counting the first place votes on all ballots. I believe there was a total of between 1100-1200 total ballots to be counted and Toyin had well over 150 first place votes then the person in 2nd place. In any regularly counted election, it would have been over and Toyin would have won and been on the ballot for the Federal election in October of 2019, but since this was a weighted ballot, we then had to count 2nd place votes. Toyin was still up by a very similar number after the 2nd round. I had someone even congratulate me at this point as it seemed impossible at this point for there to be a large enough change to alter the outcome of Toyin winning.
Then we started to count the 3rd place votes. That is when the seemingly impossible happened. Almost every 3rd place vote in the ballot pile of one of the other candidates who no longer had a chance went to one of the other candidates and almost every one in that same candidates pile put Toyin down as #4 on their ballot. In the end, although she had by far the most 1st place votes, Toyin lost the election by 11 votes. The disappointment and shock levels amongst myself, Toyin and the whole campaign team was very high and to be honest, losing by such a small margin is one of the reasons that my wife and I decided to pick up our engagement in the 2019 Federal Election to a higher level. We understand that this election is the most important election of our lifetime in Canada and we can’t sit around hoping that others will pick up the slack. Every single one of us needs to do our part.
The candidate who was in 2nd place, behind Toyin, after the first place votes were counted owns several franchise eating establishments in the area. He employs many young people who were able to vote because you only needed to be 16 to vote in this nomination election. He had all his young workers attend to vote and threw a party for those who showed up in the upstairs party room in the same building that the election was held. This candidate was very much an opposite of Toyin and had his supporters put her as #4 which handed the overall victory to the candidate who was in 3rd place after the #1 votes were counted. His campaign team was very boastful about their strategy, having worked to make sure Toyin didn’t win.
Looking back, we all learned many important lessons. The number one lesson was that every single vote is important. Another valuable lesson was how valuable every single volunteer is. Every volunteer that is willing to put in time into a candidate’s campaign translates into additional votes. There is so much work that goes into a campaign and the candidate does not have time to go and meet every single voter in a riding or do all of the leg work. There are countless hours needed to be filled in order to run a successful campaign so every volunteer is very much appreciated and valuable as it takes a team. There are all sorts of different jobs that need to be done so if you haven’t been involved in volunteering for a campaign or don’t know much about politics and feel you don’t have much to offer, I can promise you that a candidate will be very appreciative of your time and will find you an area where you can be very helpful.
I came away from the nomination election with an even greater realization of how powerful an influence that we as Christians hold in charting the direction for the future of our nation. We are so blessed to live in a country with free elections and collectively, Christians may be the single largest special interest voting block in all of Canada. We all have an interest in seeing our nation governed by Godly principles and we have the right to vote for candidates who line up with Godly beliefs. What are we waiting for?
What I find almost shocking, is the amount of Christians who run the other way and almost hide from the word politics. If we were all to get on the same page we would change the direction of our nation in one election cycle. We would see policies within certain political parties changed to support Godly principles. We would then see laws be put in place to protect the unborn as well as other laws based on Godly principles.
Although the nomination elections within all parties are almost complete and most candidates for each party have been selected we now have the responsibility of getting engaged in the Federal election in October. We are all right in the midst of witnessing what drastic changes that can occur over a 4 year period in a nation when we choose as Christians to be relaxed about who sits in leadership over our nation. We are in a place and time in history where if we continue in the same direction as we are headed now, for another 4 years, our freedoms that are already quickly eroding may be totally gone in several important areas of life. Things are changing fast and we can no longer be asleep at the wheel, and then wonder how things have gotten to where they are. Things are the way they are now because we as the church in Canada have allowed them to get this way by not being engaged on the political mountain. Although some things have happened quickly in a negative direction over the past few years in Canada, we are living in a day and age where things can also change for the positive in a very accelerated fashion, but for this to happen, we can no longer leave the work and action to the few, but we must all come together and move forward as one and take back our country.
Join with us and let’s all be part of the solution that Canada so desperately needs. Sitting on the sidelines and hoping for the best is never a winning strategy. It is time for the Body of Christ to get off of the bench and partner together with one another and with God to be a part of victories that the Lord is leading us into, all across our nation.