It was only a matter of time.
Andrew Coyne, in an article in the National Post, notes how wonderful the coerced census worked out and says Canadian citizens should also be threated into voting using a mandatory voting law. Making the census mandatory was wrong (even before the Head Statistician quit because StatsCan can no longer guarantee privacy of citizens' personal information) because citizens should be free to participate or not.
Mandatory voting reminds me of the mandatory "spontaneous" political rallies in the former Soviet Union and in today's North Korea. Luckily we live in a free country where participation in mass political events like elections is optional.
Is our turnout poor? Absolutely. Should we do something about it? Yes, straight away. Are some people lazy and/or just not “in” to politics? Sure and that's fine. But there are many other people who no longer vote because they realize that participating in a dysfunctional political system is in some way condoning it. They know that their vote has a good chance of being wasted by a dysfunctional electoral system, that their vote goes to a representative who represents a party but not them, that parliament is irrelevant and where citizens have been reduced to simple passive observers between elections. People righteously register their dissatisfaction by not voting. Mandatory voting will simply paper over our very real problems. Rather than poor turnout being a call to action mandatory voting will allow the elites to put off the needed changes for decades.
Jonathan G Dean