The new session of parliament began Monday, with many on the left of the political spectrum spewing old arguments about the 'legitimacy' of the Harper majority.
After all, they argue, only 60 per cent of the population voted in the last election and of those only 40 per cent voted for the Conservatives. So essentially, about 25 per cent of the voting population gave the Conservatives their majority.
Regardless of the fuzzy math, maybe it's time for Canada to consider mandatory voting.
In an article published in the Chronicle Herald on Sunday, political science professor Peter McKenna says Canadians have become political dropouts.
"If voting is not an integral component of our democratic polity, as would seem to be the case as more and more Canadians choose to forfeit that right, then Canadians will most assuredly get the government that they don't deserve," McKenna, who teaches at the University of Prince Edward Island wrote.
"And, as a result, only certain small, elite segments of society will be reflected in the orientation and policy prescriptions of such a government.
In the 2011 federal election, only 61.1 per cent of Canadians voted. Voter turnout was also low in the flurry of provincial elections: last Fall: only 57 per cent of registered voters cast a ballot in Manitoba's provincial election; Ontario's turnout was approximately 48 per cent.
The statistics with regards to youth are even more alarming with only 25 per cent of this group turning out to vote federally.
McKenna suggests that before it's too late, we need to follow the lead of other countries and introduce mandatory voting in Canada.
"Before you dismiss this proposal, remember voting is already mandatory in over 30 countries. Liberal democracies like Australia, Belgium and Switzerland have well-established compulsory voting systems," he wrote.
"Australia routinely garners voter participation rates of 95 per cent, which puts us to shame. Citizens there can be fined (about $20) for not voting without a sufficient reason or justification. And if the nominal fine is not paid after several warning letters, offenders could face possible jail time.
"There may come a time, particularly if these low voter turnout rates continue into the future, where someone is going to wonder why we have elections in the first place if no one is bothering to show up."
(CBC file photo)