80,000 Alberta youth cast ballots in Student Vote program for the local elections

October 16th, 2017 by Dan Allan

More than 80,000 elementary and high school students participated in the Student Vote project for the 2017 local elections in Alberta.

After learning about government and the electoral process, exploring the issues and candidates, and discussing the election with family and friends, students cast ballots for their local municipal council and school board trustee candidates.

“CIVIX would like to thank all of the dedicated teachers that have made civic education a priority and added democracy to the curriculum,” says Taylor Gunn, President of CIVIX. “With more than 80,000 participants, we have surpassed expectations for our first-ever local elections project in Alberta.”

By 3:45 p.m. MT, 758 schools had reported their election results, representing 124 municipalities throughout the province. In total, 82,284 ballots were cast by student participants.

MUNICIPAL ELECTION RESULTS: http://studentvote.ca/results/ablocal2017 

SCHOOL AUTHORITY RESULTS: http://studentvote.ca/results/home/municipal_results_by_school_boards/22

RESULTS HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Calgary: Naheed Nenshi was elected mayor with 45.9% of the vote, defeating Bill Smith (27.9%), David Lapp (7.5%), Andre Chabot (4.6%) and Stan ‘The Man’ Waciak (4.2%), among other challengers. More than 31,000 students cast ballots from 215 schools representing all 14 municipal wards.
  • Edmonton: Don Iveson was elected mayor with 57.3% of the vote, defeating Justin Thomas (7.4%), Carla Frost (6.5%), Mike Butler (5.1%) and Taz Bouchier (4.5%), among other challengers. More than 18,000 students cast ballots from 193 schools representing all 12 municipal wards.
  • Throughout the province: An additional 30,000 students from 121 municipalities throughout the province cast ballots for their local municipal council and school board trustee candidates.

BACKGROUND:
Student Vote is the flagship program of CIVIX, Canada’s leading civic education charity. CIVIX provides authentic learning opportunities to help young Canadians develop the habits of active and engaged citizenship. CIVIX programming focuses on the themes of elections, government budgets, elected representatives and news literacy.

The Student Vote project for the 2017 local elections was made possible with support from the Government of AlbertaEdmonton Community FoundationAlberta Teachers’ Association, Galvin Family Trust, Elections Alberta and the Government of Canada.

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Student Vote Days for the Alberta Local Elections

October 12th, 2017 by CIVIX

60,000 students will voice their political opinions in first-ever Student Vote program for Alberta local elections

Even though they are under the voting age, more than 60,000 elementary and high school students from throughout Alberta will have an opportunity to consider the future direction of their community and vote for candidates running for municipal council and school board trustee.

The Student Vote program is a hands-on learning program that enables teachers to bring democracy alive in the classroom, and empowers students to experience the voting process firsthand and practice the habits of active and engaged citizenship.

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Participating schools are supplied with free learning materials and election supplies to help them engage in the campaign and organize a parallel vote.

Students learn about local government and democracy, and research the issues and candidates through classroom activities, family discussion and campaign events. In the culminating activity, students take on the roles of election officials and coordinate the election process for their peers.

On Student Vote Day (October 12 and 13), students cast ballots for the candidates running for mayor/reeve, councillor and school board trustee. The results are tabulated and released publicly following the closing of the official polls.

A total of 934 schools have registered to participate in the Student Vote program for the 2017 local elections, representing 158 Alberta municipalities. This is the first Student Vote program to be held for municipal and school board elections in Alberta.

With support from the Government of AlbertaEdmonton Community FoundationAlberta Teachers’ Association, Galvin Family Trust, Elections Alberta and the Government of Canada, the Student Vote program was offered free to schools.

The Student Vote election results will be released at the close of polls on Monday, October 16 (8:00 p.m. MT).

Student Vote is the flagship program of CIVIX, Canada’s leading civic education charity. CIVIX provides authentic learning opportunities to help young Canadians practice their rights and responsibilities as citizens and connect with their democratic institutions. CIVIX programming focuses on the themes of elections, government budgets, elected representatives and news literacy.

Since 2003, CIVIX has coordinated 36 Student Vote projects at various levels of elections. In the 2015 federal election, 922,000 students cast ballots from 6,662 schools representing all 338 ridings.

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Introducing NewsWise

September 20th, 2017 by CIVIX

Ivanka Trump commits $1 million to CIVIX

That’s #fakenews.

This isn’t: Google Canada is supporting CIVIX and the Canadian Journalism Foundation to design and deliver a news literacy program for students. The announcement was made today and covered by the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and the Canadian Press.

The program will provide school aged Canadians with the tools and skills to find and filter accurate information online and promote an understanding of the role of journalists and news organizations in ensuring a healthy democracy.

News literacy has been a priority for CIVIX and a mainstay of our Student Vote program since its inception. In the summer of 2003, before our first election, Lindsay and I drove throughout Ontario in her grandmother’s car to meet with the editors and publishers of nearly every single regional daily newspaper and negotiated with them to distribute free newspapers to schools participating in Student Vote to promote media consumption. 

But times have changed and the ways in which we consume and share news have fundamentally changed with social media and an abundance of information on numerous platforms. There is a need to help kids develop the knowledge and capacity to filter, sort and critique what is coming at them from every angle.

This is a challenging project in challenging times, and we will give everything we have to make this effective and successful.

Thanks for letting me be in touch about our efforts, and I hope to have more for you soon.

​Taylor

Taylor Gunn
President & CEO
CIVIX

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NewsWise — Democracy Demands News Literacy

September 19th, 2017 by CIVIX

The rallying cry of The Canadian Journalism Foundation feels particularly relevant these days: ‘as journalism goes so goes democracy’.

More than ever, it’s critical that current and future generations understand the role journalism plays in our democracy. With social media and an abundance of information on numerous platforms, the ways we consume and share news have fundamentally changed. We need to help Canadians better understand how quality journalism is produced and how to determine which sources of information are reliable. News literacy skills are essential to this process.

With a $500,000 grant from Google Canada, the CJF is thrilled to be partnering with CIVIX on NewsWise – a program to provide school aged Canadians with the tools and skills to find and filter accurate information online. The program will reach 1.5 million Canadians (ages 9-19) and the goal is to increase students’ ability to analyze media messages and expand their knowledge about how news is produced.

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NewsWise will be developed by CIVIX, the organization behind Student Vote, and CJF’s network of news leaders, journalists and academics. The program will be a part of the Student Vote activities, rolling out to coincide with the Ontario provincial election in 2018, and other upcoming local and provincial elections, culminating nationally with the 2019 federal election. Student Vote already has programs in 98% of Canadian school boards. CJF will engage Canada’s journalism community in supporting the delivery of the program.

The partnership between the CJF and CIVIX is built on the shared goal that that quality journalism in our country leads to a thriving democracy.

Authored by Natalie Turvey Executive Director of The Canadian Journalism Foundation and Taylor Gunn, President and Chief Election Officer of CIVIX.

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Celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage

January 28th, 2016 by CIVIX

A hundred years ago today, women were officially allowed to vote in a Canadian election. Suffrage (the right to vote) was extended to Manitoba women, allowing them to cast a ballot in their next provincial election. Most other provinces quickly followed suit, and by 1918 women were allowed to vote federally. Now women make up a larger percentage of the Canadian electorate than men!

The path to women’s suffrage was a long and arduous one. Although instances of women voting in Upper and Lower Canada in the early 19th century are documented, they were rare exceptions. Formal complaints were lodged against them and the provinces enacted laws to prohibit women from voting. Canada’s Constitutional Act, 1867 entrenched the right of provincial governments to decide which of their citizens could vote federally and women were effectively excluded.

Beginning in the 1870s, women campaigned for change with petitions, speeches and public protests. The women’s suffrage movement grew and chapters were formed in every province. The only exception was Quebec, whose conservative culture forced women to take up other issues, such as the right to equal education. Without much support from politicians and the general public, women introduced bills in provincial legislatures that would grant them the right to vote. If their bill was defeated, it was reintroduced again and again until it was passed.

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The early 1900s were changing times for Canadian women. The First World War saw them excel at jobs generally reserved for men. Transportation and modes of communication became more accessible and women could gather information, advertise their message and travel to meetings in different cities much more easily. The suffragettes – as these women came to be nicknamed – used creative ways to gain followers and supporters.

For instance, in January 1914, a play sponsored by the Manitoba Political Equality League was performed in which women adopted the roles of legislators who were listening to men demanding the right to vote. Nellie McClung, one of the more famous suffragettes, played the role of the provincial premier and rejected the idea. “Man is made for something higher and better than voting. Men were made to support families. What is a home without a bank account!” she declared. McClung, who was said to have met several times with Manitoba Premier Rodmond Roblin to discuss the women’s vote, imitated him so well that the audience burst into laughter.

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Manitoba became the first province to approve women’s suffrage on January 28, 1916, closely followed by Saskatchewan on March 14 and Alberta on April 19. British Columbia extended women the right to vote on April 5, 1917, and Ontario Suffragettes celebrated their victory one week later on April 12. These important provincial decisions mounted pressure on the federal government to do the same.

On May 24, 1918, women aged 21 and older were granted the right to vote in federal elections, and in July 1919 they were allowed to run for public office. It was not until 1929, with the help of the “Famous Five” – a group including Nellie McClung, Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise Crummy McKinney and Irene Parlby – that women were declared “persons” in a Supreme Court case, and could be appointed to the Senate.

Suffragettes paved the way for a more inclusive future, but to many women in Canada even the 1929 decision was not cause for celebration. Members of several ethnic and racial minority groups, such as Canadians of Chinese and Japanese origin, were excluded for several decades after women achieved the right to vote. Aboriginal peoples had to wait until 1960 to be able to cast their first ballot. It is important to remember the legacy of the suffragettes on this day, but also to recognize that it took quite a while longer for the title of “persons” to apply equally to all citizens of Canada.

Adelina

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Democracy Bootcamp: Edmonton

September 30th, 2015 by CIVIX

Roughly 130 educators from Edmonton and the surrounding region took part in Democracy Bootcamp at The Alberta Teachers’ Association. 

Democracy Bootcamp: Edmonton was the fifth and final professional conference that CIVIX hosted in 2015 to inspire teachers’ democratic engagement and support their delivery of Student Vote during this fall’s federal election. We have officially trained more than 800 teachers throughout Canada in preparation for the largest Student Vote in the program’s history!

DemocracyBootcampEdmonton1

The day began with a panel of high-level political operatives, who gave teachers a glance inside a campaign to explain how they are shaped, won and lost. The panel featured Tom Flanagan, Sally Housser, and Scott Reid and was moderated by The Edmonton Journal’s Graham Thomson.

The afternoon’s agenda included an all-candidate forum on federal politics hosted by Nancy Carlson of Global News Edmonton and a presentation of Student Vote’s new tools and best practices.

Two other Bootcamps – Democracy Bootcamp: Calgary and Democracy Bootcamp: Montreal – were held just last week in their respective cities, and CIVIX organized two other Bootcamps in British Columbia and Ontario earlier this year.

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CIVIX has organized Student Vote projects in Alberta during the last four federal and three provincial elections. In the recent provincial election, more than 92,000 Student Vote ballots were cast from 838 schools, representing the province’s best ever participation in the program.

Already in this fall’s federal Student Vote, Alberta has shattered its past participation records. The province has increased its best-ever participation by 31 per cent, with 1186 schools registered – that’s more than half of all schools in the province!

Democracy Bootcamp: Edmonton is made possible with the support of The Alberta Teachers’ Association, Edmonton Catholic School District, Edmonton Public Schools, Elections Alberta, Elections Canada, The Edmonton Community Foundation, The Max Bell Foundation, and Your Canada, Your Constitution.

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Democracy Bootcamp: Calgary

September 21st, 2015 by CIVIX

More than 300 teachers from across Calgary will participate in Democracy Bootcamp today at the TELUS Spark Centre. The conference is intended to inspire the democratic engagement of teachers and improve their delivery of Student Vote during this fall’s federal election.

Democracy Bootcamp: Calgary will be our largest event in 2015, and the day-long agenda is packed with interesting speakers and special guests. In the morning, teachers will hear from political scientist Paul Fairie on the ‘Math (or Magic?)’ of polls, including their impact on elections, their implications for our democracy, and why pollsters get it right – and wrong.

An experienced panel of political operatives will then give teachers a glance ‘Inside a Campaign’ to offer insight on how campaigns are shaped, won and lost. The panel features Kathleen Monk, Scott Reid, and Jamie Watt and is moderated by The Globe and Mail’s Campbell Clark.

The afternoon schedule includes an all-party forum on federal politics hosted by Linda Olsen of Global News Calgary and a presentation on Student Vote tools and best practices.

Another Bootcamp – Democracy Bootcamp: Montréal – is simultaneously being held in Montréal today, and another is scheduled for next Tuesday, September 29 in Edmonton. CIVIX also hosted two other Bootcamps in British Columbia and Ontario earlier this year. By next week, we will have trained more than 800 teachers throughout Canada to deliver our biggest and best Student Vote yet.

CIVIX has organized Student Vote projects in Alberta during the last four federal and three provincial elections. In the recent provincial election, more than 92,000 Student Vote ballots were cast from 838 schools, representing the province’s best ever participation in the program.

In this fall’s federal Student Vote, Alberta has already shattered past participation. The province sits at 120 per cent of its best ever registration, with 1,061 schools registered – that’s more than half of all schools in the province!

Democracy Bootcamp: Calgary is made possible with the support of The Alberta Teachers’ Association, Calgary Board of Education, Calgary Catholic School District, Elections Alberta, Elections Canada, The Calgary Foundation, The Max Bell Foundation, and Your Canada, Your Constitution.

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Democracy Bootcamp: Montréal

September 21st, 2015 by CIVIX

CIVIX is proud to welcome over 60 teachers and participants from across Québec for Democracy Bootcamp: Montréal today at Écomusée du fier monde. Participants will engage on the delivery of the Student Vote program for the 2015 federal election, and learn about democratic engagement in the classroom.

Graham Fox of the Institut de la recherche en politiques publiques will moderate a panel of expert political analysts, including Tasha Kheiriddin of the National Post, Philippe Orfali of Le Devoir, and Éric Montigny of Université de Laval, while they discuss the federal election.

Participants will also learn about polling accuracy and how to integrate the results of polls into the classroom, with Claire Durand of Université de Montréal. In the afternoon, participants will engage in group discussion sessions in order to share resources and their experiences with Student Vote, and to help teachers prepare to deliver the program.

The Directeur général des élections du Québec and l’Assemblée nationale du Québec will share tools and programs from the Québec government for civic education, including Vox populi: Ta démocratie à l’école and Par ici la démocratie.

CIVIX will also share the best tips, practices, and tools that teachers can integrate into their Student Vote programs this fall. With the advice from experienced participants, to the latest social media tools and videos, teachers will leave the day prepared to challenge their students into thinking about, and acting on their civic duty with the Student Vote program.

Another Bootcamp – Democracy Bootcamp: Calgary – is simultaneously being held in Calgary today, and another is scheduled for next Tuesday, September 29 in Edmonton. CIVIX hosted two other Bootcamps in British Columbia and Ontario earlier this year as well. By next week, we will have trained more than 800 teachers throughout Canada to deliver our biggest and best Student Vote yet.

CIVIX has organized Student Votes during the last four federal elections in Québec. In the last federal election, 322 schools in the province registered for the Student Vote program, resulting in over 36,000 ballots cast. The 2015 election has resulted in 110 per cent of our best ever participation in the province.

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Over 5,000 schools registered for Student Vote

September 16th, 2015 by CIVIX
Last week the federal campaign reached its midpoint, and CIVIX officially launched Student Vote 2015 in schools across Canada.

As of noon today, 5,735 schools are registered for Student Vote, representing all 338 electoral districts, and shattering our registration records in the previous federal election by more than 1,400 schools.

You can view all participating schools on our interactive map:

The team is working around the clock to serve these schools to the best of our ability. On Monday, we’ll have our team split between four locations across the country: in our Toronto office responding to calls and emails from teachers, at our East York warehouse preparing and mailing packages, and in both Calgary and Montreal running Democracy Bootcamp teacher training conferences.

More than 400 teachers will attend a Bootcamp on Monday, all of whom are registered Student Vote Team Leaders. They will learn about how to best bring the election to their classroom, as well as hearing directly from local candidates and pundits like Kathleen Monk, Jaime Watt, Scott Reid and Tasha Kheirridin.

In addition to distributing thousands of free resource packages to schools across the country, we are preparing Student Vote participants for their election days by simultaneously producing the most current and relevant content possible.

We are proud to have The Globe and Mail as our official content partner for this election. On Monday, we spoke with The Globe’s Jane Taber about what to expect in tomorrow’s leaders’ debate on the economy. You can watch here: 

 
We will have more to share with you next week and throughout the final month of the campaign,

Taylor

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Democracy Bootcamp Ontario 2015

April 16th, 2015 by Dan Allan

More than 200 educators from across Ontario are set to gather in Toronto today and tomorrow for Democracy Bootcamp!

Hosted by CIVIX at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Arcadian Court, Democracy Bootcamp will cover the basics of elections, voting research and trends, and techniques and tools to educate and engage students in our democracy. The conference is intended to improve the political knowledge, interest, and instructional capacity of classroom teachers, and enhance their delivery of the Student Vote program.

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Democracy Bootcamp is made possible with support from Elections Canada, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The schedule for the two-day event includes an all-party forum on federal politics hosted by Althia Raj, a pundits panel featuring Amanda Alvaro, Robin MacLachlan and Stockwell Day, and an insider’s look at election campaigns hosted by Desmond Cole and featuring Kathleen Monk, Jaime Watt and David Herle. Additional discussions will feature Vote Compass, Samara Canada, Abacus Data and Twitter Canada.

CIVIX has organized Student Vote projects in Ontario during the last four federal and four provincial elections, as well as two municipal and school board elections (including the most recent municipal and school board elections in the fall of 2014). During last year’s provincial election, more than 170,000 Student Vote ballots were cast from over 1,300 schools.

A British Columbia Democracy Bootcamp took place in Vancouver in February; photos are available here. Bootcamps in Quebec and Alberta are being planned for later this year.

The first Democracy Bootcamp for Ontario teachers was held in April 2011. Videos of the panels are available here. You can watch a video recap of the event here:

Follow us at @CIVIX_Canada and @studentvote to keep tabs on #DemocracyBootcamp.

Please contact hello@civix.ca for more information.

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