What are we voting for again?


As we head into another electoral cycle, one of my pet peeves rears its ugly head.

 If you are running for an elected office, show that office enough respect to know what it is actually called. Know what, in fact, you are representing.

 With nomination races and pre-election leaflets now hitting the public spaces, I am seeing people refer to provincial electoral districts, and even sometimes municipal electoral districts, as ridings.

 What the candidate is trying to say is they want to represent the area. What they are actually saying is they need more training on what government is, before they seek decision making powers within one.

 Candidates are by no means the only offenders. Media personnel, reporters, editors, producers and the like have joined in this slippery slope of laziness, to the point where the rest of society follows along. This has been going on for years now, and it needs to stop.

 Federal Members of Parliament represent ridings. Our Members of the Legislative Assembly represent constituencies. Where there are electoral districts in municipalities, they are called wards, though some municipalities just elect a set number of councillors, regardless of where they may live.

 What would you think of people who watch a rugby game and start calling it water polo? What if you were at a grocery store and asked where the lumber aisle was? Would you ask for a steak at Starbucks?  If you did, you would sound pretty unintelligent, and people might question if you maybe should be in concussion protocol. So why is it considered acceptable to forgive these errors?

 While this may seem like a little thing, it actually shows a decreasing amount of respect our society is showing towards elected offices, and the institutions of government. It shows the institutions don’t matter to the people making those errors. It may indicate the candidates don’t actually understand what the powers of the office actually are (which should also disqualify them from running).

 If the voting public is not willing to demand basic standards in their candidates, they won’t get better elected representatives.