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The Inside Story: New Canadians celebrate the freedom to vote

Last Updated Jul 3, 2015 at 11:23 am EDT

Ontarians casting ballots Thursday enjoyed a democratic process that many around the world would, and do, die for.

In Ukraine’s elections last month less than 20 per cent of polling stations in the country’s eastern region were open due to gangs of roving rebels.

“Those people in those regions couldn’t necessarily vote. If you have armed people running around you wouldn’t want or be able to vote,” Ukrainian-born Aleksander told CityNews.

“Here the apathy is more prevalent because we have this cozy life. In Ukraine and countries not as well of is a little bit different.”

In Syria, a country ripped apart by two years of civil war, people are dying for democracy.

A presidential election there June 3 kept existing president Bashar al-Assad in power with 88 per cent of the vote in an election dismissed by most of the western world.

“Blood was shed for the sake of this election,” Maher Azhem told CityNews.

The Syrian-Canadian urges any one with the chance to vote to exercise their democratic right.

“People should really be thankful that they’re in Canada and they should think 100 times before saying they don’t want to vote,” Azhem said.