Friday, April 29, 2011

Democracy Requires All-ages Participation - Letter to Editor

Democracy Requires All-ages Participation - Letter to Vancouver Courier
Tracey Young, April 29, 2011

Re: Young Ideas (April 22, 2011)

Parents and other relatives have a duty to teach and model civic and electoral participation to the next generations of citizens. My parents and grandparents taught me about the importance of participating in democracy with the classic, you can't complain about anything if you didn't vote. Due to their role modeling and words, I have never missed a municipal, provincial, or federal election since I became eligible to vote. Now I follow, blog and tweet about local, provincial and federal politics.

Citizens in countries all over the world fight and die for the right to vote for their leaders. Previous generations of Canadians sacrificed their lives for democracy. If people have time to engage with Facebook, other social media and all of the other vapid and meaningless things we do in modern society they have time to vote.

If young voters are waiting for an Obama-esque figure to appear in Canada before they will vote they'll be waiting forever. Politics isn't American Idol. As the article points out, the issues of young people will simply never be prioritized because the majority of voters are older and they ensure their issues dominate. It is up to citizens and voters to bring their issues forward and ensure political candidates and parties know what is important to them. No-one has a right to complain if they don't get politically informed, engaged and vote.

During the 2008 federal election, my 7 year old niece, accompanied me to the ballot box. She went home and told her mom that she couldn't wait to be old enough to vote. Her mother, who had never voted, began to talk to others who had never voted and several of them cast their first ballots ever. If a 7 year old gets it, then college and university students and adults should too. On May 2nd, every Canadian citizen will have a chance to give voice to their vision for Canada. I strongly encourage citizens of all ages to get out and vote.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fractured Mental Health System in BC

Fractured system

In the zeal to demonize and sensationalize Mr. Schoenborn, what is missing is the analysis that this tragedy and many others like it would not have occurred had this man received mental-health assessment and treatment prior to the deaths of his children.
Like too many people, it was only after he was arrested that was he assessed, diagnosed and treated for a psychiatric disorder.
As a social worker, I have worked with hundreds of individuals who have experienced various degrees of mental illness. Some were able to cope with milder forms, others were completely debilitated and their lives were in ruin.
The commonality among almost all of them is that it was virtually impossible for them to access mental-health services in a timely and responsive way in B.C.'s fractured, underfunded and understaffed mental-health system.