Burrard Toastmasters
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Club Speeches

Reasons to Exercise

By Rebekah Renford

Reasons to Exercise. By the title of my speech tonight, I'm sure you all had the initial impression that I would be talking to you about being healthy, feeling good, and just exercising in general. But I have fooled you! What I want to talk to you about are the reasons to exercise your rights. The reasons why you should take advantage of your abilities in the culture and country you live in; the reasons why you should exercise your right to vote.

A couple of weeks ago, only 50% of the eligible BC population voted in the provincial election and referendum. This turn out is pitiful. Now, I know we don't have cool, hip choices, like Barack Obama who make politics interesting and fun in a weird sort of way. And understandably, in my opinion, the choices we had weren't necessarily outstanding, and even I myself had troubles picking the lesser of the two evils – however that's no reason why you shouldn't at least give some sort of opinion. Even if you don't want to vote for either of the likely winners, you can still go, vote for the long shot, and at least say you exercised your right to vote.

In a discussion I had last week with a friend, I was reminded of the reasons we fought in the world wars. Much of the reason so many soldiers went to war was to protect our way of life and protect our rights. We remember this on specific days, such as Remembrance Day, out of respect. However why can we not remember this all the time? It is shameful that many men and women gave their lives and fought for our way of life and yet we cast it away without a second thought, because we "have better things to do" or because we "didn't know who to vote for" because we didn't take the time to educate ourselves. And it's not only the soldiers we should be thanking, but also the countless women who fought for females and their right to vote and their equality as well. Not to mention the other under-represented groups who did the same. This is a great reason, in my opinion, out of respect and thankfulness, to exercise your right to vote.

Thirdly, I'm not going to sugar coat it for you. You just simply have to stop being lazy, make the time, get out there, and get it done! It's not like it takes a whole lot of time, and they give you plenty of time to vote. And especially since, even if who you voted for doesn't get elected, you'll still have the right to whine and complain with everyone else. But if you don't get out there and voice that opinion and put that magic ballot into the box, then you can't whine that the wrong person got elected – cause yah didn't vote! And bonus… if you voted, you get this awesome little sticker you can put on that says "I voted!" Definitely fashionable, no doubt about it. If that's not a reason to exercise your right to vote, then I don't know what is!

So, you see, it's very important that we exercise our right to vote. We need to show that we care about our country, and our futures, and our children's futures, by giving more than a 50% voter turnout. We need to remember and respect the reason so many soldiers fought to protect our way of life and the choices we have. We need to thank the countless under-represented groups who worked so hard to give us the rights we have now. We need to give ourselves a reason to continue to have a voice in the society we live in, whether it be pointless complaining with family, friends, and colleagues or active protests in your city to raise awareness.

If we don't vote – those in power have no reason to care about our issues, or us. Voting won't change things overnight – but it is a tool. It's one way to make the world more like the place you want it to be. Exercise your right to vote – it means more than you might think it does.

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