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250 years of what? 

To the editor,

It's funny. I went to school here in NS, then Ontario, have a grad degree and am working on another and consider myself reasonably well-informed. I was, though, caught way off guard when I learned that this province has had democracy for 250 years! I had no idea until I saw the signs up along Barrington and the questions that came to mind were: Which 250 years? Were they consecutive? Did my grandparents experience it? Was there an ancient civilization only recently discovered along our rugged coastline, with interesting city states well supplied with wine, merry orators, bards and boats?

Maybe the problem is that I am young and so focused on the here and now---an era with no choice, when elections are formal fronts and people in power do what they want. The people exist, live and work merely to provide the tax base needed to keep the multiple layers of government in a lifestyle to which they are accustomed and have come to expect; no---deserve. A child of a modern form of serfdom, my having never seen democracy has made me thirsty for the history books.

What's worse, the province and feds are kicking in $9.4 million to convince young people like me to get up, vote and participate, so long as we don't change anything. What happened to the good ol' days when democracy meant the government didn't have to earn my vote, but could simply buy it for a micky of rum? $9.4 million is about $10 per Nova Scotian, or about $20 per taxpayer. They are essentially taking $20 from us---a micky of rum or a case of Keith's---totell us to vote. You can fool some of the taxpayers some of the time, but Nova Scotians will open their eyes when they see the empty keg before the party's even started.

If you want young people to vote, I have a plan and it doesn't cost $9.4 million. Put a name on the ballot of someone who doesn't promise glorious foreign escapades, rock celebs or ATVs for kids---someone who promises one simple thing: to fire those who sign checks to celebrate the past when there's a future to build.

By --Barrie Hebb

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