Voter suppression in Catalonia underlines our rights

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On July 22, the United Conservative Party (UCP) was created when members of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Wildrose Party voted to join forces.

Both parties had the right to merge, and people had the right to vote yes or no in a manner that is free of fear and repercussions with many agreeing or disagreeing with what the two parties decided to do.

What I love about Canada is that fact that we have our issues, but we are overall respectful towards each other, and most importantly, we can disagree with others because we have free speech.

On Oct. 1, residents of Catalonia, a region in Spain, voted in a referendum to secede and set up their own country. Unfortunately, many voters faced aggression from authorities.

This happened to normal people. If you happened to be at the poll trying to vote, the police impeded you to impede the vote, and in some cases, confiscated the ballot boxes.

Many people reading this will probably never have heard of Catalonia, let alone of the referendum, but my point is this. Catalonia and Spain are part of the first world countries.

Canadians have no idea what they take for granted when they vote, let alone when they vote freely.

What happened there this Oct. 1 makes me sad. People should be free to express their right to decide their future without fear of being suppressed. It is also a real eye-opener to the freedoms us Canadians have that even some rich European nations lack.

You may hate or love whoever comes and goes through our governments, but be grateful that not only you could vote, but that your vote counted, and that you didn’t have police in riot gear impeding your right to decide your future.

And not only that, I hope this serves as a warning to what starts happening when democracies fall apart. You, the average citizen, become absolutely worthless.

Alex Vilalta

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