Toronto Sky Line by jeltovski at Morguefile

Preparing to Be a Citizen

The fall of the Stephen Harper government last Friday was exciting for me in a way that it probably wasn’t for many others in Canada.  I have only lived here for a few years after decades in the U.S.  As a Canadian citizen, though, I wasn’t able to vote in elections until I came back.  Admittedly, it was from famine to feast with a provincial election and federal election already in a very short span of time.  Now we’ll be having another election shortly.

I appreciate that there are cultural differences underscoring the Canadian political system but it seems largely ineffective.  Minority governments, frequent repetitive and expensive elections, and the lack of independent representatives in the legislature are all frustrating.  It has made me more interested in participating than I have ever been before, even though I studied politics in university.  This will be the first campaign that I’ve contacted a political party (although I do not belong to it) to get a lawn sign and I’m trying to determine what else I might do to get involved, beyond just the casting of a ballot.

Voting and jury duty are, to me, two of the most important duties of any citizen.  It’s interesting how often the first is ignored and the second is actively shirked, with excuses of inconvenience and discomfort about standing in judgment of another person.  I have not been asked to serve on a jury yet, but am looking forward to the opportunity of participating in a judicial system that I have only seen from the perspective of a lawyer.

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.