Carihi students participated in “Student Vote” on Oct. 16, a mock federal election for young Canadians below legal voting age.
Student Vote operates just like a real election and allows students to become accustomed to the voting process. The program has been around since 2003 and operates with a purpose of promoting voting amongst the younger population.
This year, 922,000 students from 6,760 schools across the country cast their ballots, including 629 students from Carihi. Many felt it was a great opportunity to express their political voice, including Grade 10 student, Kianna Shwaluk.
“I voted to voice my opinion,” Shwaluk shared. “Every student deserves to have their opinions heard. Students often have different political views than adults. What’s important to us is a lot different than what’s important to them.”
The Student Vote results, although used for statistical purposes only, really make a statement about what’s important to Canadian youth.
Grade 11 student, Charis Tazumi says she hopes to one day see a party that changes justice in prisons, an issue she believes to be very important.
“There needs to be more people who want to provide assistance and care for criminals who suffer from mental illnesses to help them get better. You can’t expect these people to get released back into the world and be perfectly fine after being in the isolation of a prison for so long without having received the proper care, support and rehabilitation.”
Julia Milutinovic, another Grade 11 student, is passionate about environmental issues.
“I agree that pipelines are both bad for the environment and unsafe. They’re not worth the risk of a devastating oil spill. The Northern Gateway Pipeline could cause a huge negative impact on our environment, so I didn’t want to see it, or any other pipeline, get passed.”
A number of eager students were also given the opportunity to volunteer as poll workers during the election in order to gain a deeper understanding of the voting process. Those who were involved agreed it was a great experience and had fun trying out different election-related jobs.
The results of the Student Vote were announced on Oct. 19 during the television coverage of the federal election results.
Carihi students voted 37 per cent Liberal, 28 per cent NDP, 22 per cent Green and 13 per cent Conservative, compared to the actual North Island-Powell River results that had a 40 per cent NDP lead, with the Conservatives in second, followed closely by the Liberals.
Nationwide, the results of the Student Vote were similar to those of the actual federal election. Canadian students voted for a majority Liberal government, with the Conservatives as the Leader of the Opposition.
Full results can be viewed at www.studentvote.ca/results.