Rep Day: Connecting Students and MPs

April 5th, 2016 by Dan Allan

CIVIX is coordinating visits between Members of Parliament and high school classes as part of the 2016 Rep Day program!

Rep Day is a civic education initiative that connects students with their local MP for a dialogue on government, the electoral process and issues that interest them. The program aims to help students develop a better understanding and sense of trust in the people and institutions within our democracy.

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So far, 150 Rep Days have been scheduled with over 115 Members of Parliament, representing 12 provinces and territories and all five political parties represented in Parliament.

This year’s Rep Day program follows the 2015 federal Student Vote program, where 922,000 students cast ballots from 6,662 schools representing all 338 ridings (complete results are available here). Many Student Vote schools are participating in Rep Day, giving students an opportunity to interact directly with their recently-elected federal representative.

During the last school year, CIVIX coordinated 81 Rep Day visits with 71 Members of Parliament and in 2013-2014, CIVIX coordinated 85 Rep Day visits with 66 Members of Parliament. Over the past two years, more than a third of parliamentarians have participated in the program and feedback from both MPs and schools has been extremely positive.

Just wanted to let you know that Mr. Viersen’s visit was an overwhelming success, and students are still discussing a number of issues he addressed. He was professional and approachable at the same time, not an easy feat to pull off. Students identified with his youthfulness, while respecting his responses regardless of their own personal opinions.

They were left with considerable food for thought, and points of view they had never considered. Rep Day is a wonderful idea and I hope it continues.

– E.W. Pratt Senior High (High Prairie, AB)

The Rep Day program will run through the remainder of this school year with visits coinciding with Parliamentary break weeks. The remaining weeks are from April 25th to 29th and May 24th to 27th. The program will also be available throughout the 2016-2017 school year.

Interested schools are invited to contact CIVIX to take part and receive free curriculum resources to help guide the visit.

CIVIX is delivering Rep Day with support from the Government of Canada.

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Student Vote Saskatchewan: The Results

April 4th, 2016 by Dan Allan

Wall and the Sask. Party win majority government in province-wide Student Vote

Nearly 20,000 students under the voting age cast ballots in Student Vote Saskatchewan for the 2016 provincial election.

After learning about the democratic process, researching the candidates and party platforms, and debating the future of Saskatchewan, students cast ballots for the official candidates running in their local constituencies.

Participating schools received free learning materials and election supplies which was made possible by Elections Saskatchewan.

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By 4 p.m. today, 273 schools had reported their election results, representing all 61 constituencies in the province. In total, 19,758 ballots were cast by student participants.

There were many close races in the province, with 15 constituencies decided by 25 votes or fewer.

Students elected Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party to a majority government with 48 seats and 53.4 per cent of the vote. Party leader Brad Wall easily won in his constituency of Swift Current with 84.1 per cent of the vote.

The NDP won 13 seats and will form the Student Vote official opposition, receiving 22.7 per cent of the popular vote. Party leader Cam Broten was defeated in Saskatoon Westview.

The Green Party received 11.0 per cent of the vote, but did not win a seat. Party leader Victor Lau was not elected in his constituency of Regina Douglas Park.

The Saskatchewan Liberal Party took 10.8 per cent of the vote, but did not win a seat. Party leader Darrin Lamoureux did not win in his constituency of Regina Pasqua.

Student Vote SK - Results Graphic

“Student Vote is a wonderful program that not only educates our future voters, but it spurs discussions that students have with their families and other voters about democracy and elections,” says Dr. Michael Boda, Chief Electoral Officer of Saskatchewan. “This partnership between Elections Saskatchewan and CIVIX benefits students around the province by instilling in them an interest and intention to participate in future elections as voters, candidates and election workers.”

“We would like to thank all of the dedicated teachers that have made civic education a priority and added democracy to the curriculum,” said Taylor Gunn, President and Chief Election Officer of CIVIX. “Not only has

Student Vote been proven to increase political knowledge and interest among students, and enhance their civic duty, it also fosters political discussion at home and family engagement in the election.”

This is the second provincial-level Student Vote project conducted in Saskatchewan. The 2016 project was a collaboration between CIVIX and Elections Saskatchewan.

VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS HERE: http://studentvote.ca/results/sk2016

 

Results Highlights:

  • Only one political party leader won their seat: Brad Wall (Saskatchewan Party) in Swift Current. Cam Broten (NDP), Victor Lau (Green), Darrin Lamoureux (Liberal), Rick Swenson (PC) and Frank Serfas (WIP) were defeated in their constituencies.
  • The constituency of Yorkton had the greatest number of participants with 913 valid votes. Moose Jaw North was second with 817, followed by Prince Albert Carlton with 784.
  • Wood River had 10 schools report results – more than any other constituency.

 

Background:

Student Vote is the flagship program of CIVIX.

CIVIX is a national civic education charity building the skills and habits of citizenship among young Canadians.

CIVIX coordinated the Student Vote program for the 2016 Saskatchewan provincial election in collaboration with Elections Saskatchewan.

Elections Saskatchewan is the province’s independent, impartial, professional election management body. Given a mandate from the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly, it organizes, manages and oversees provincial electoral events, including the April 4, 2016 general election. Information for voters, workers, media, candidates and parties at www.elections.sk.ca.

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Student Vote Saskatchewan 2016

March 30th, 2016 by CIVIX

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Student Vote Day in Saskatchewan

March 23rd, 2016 by Dan Allan

On March 23 and 24, Saskatchewan elementary and high school students will cast ballots for the official candidates running in the 2016 provincial election.

The Student Vote program provides students with the opportunity to cast ballots for the official candidates after learning about the democratic process, researching candidates and party platforms and debating the future of Saskatchewan.

As many as 20,000 elementary and secondary students are expected to participate from more than 330 schools representing all 61 provincial constituencies. You can view all participating schools on our interactive map.

In addition to election materials, a wide variety of online tools has been made available to participating schools. The Student Vote Saskatchewan website includes an online resource library with lesson plans, handouts and worksheets, as well as other educational tools like videos and PowerPoints.

Students were invited to submit questions to the party leaders and submissions were shared with all provincial political parties. The questions focused on election issues like the economy, energy, health care and education and responses were received from Brad Wall (Saskatchewan Party), Cam Broten (NDP), Victor Lau (Green) and Darrin Lamoureux (Liberal). The questions and answers can all be viewed here.

CIVIX has partnered with Elections Saskatchewan to provide the Student Vote program to elementary and secondary schools across the province for the 2016 provincial election.

This will be the sixth Student Vote program conducted in Saskatchewan. During the 2011 provincial Student Vote, more than 20,000 students cast ballots from 285 schools.

Like the results of the official election, students elected a Saskatchewan Party majority government with an NDP opposition. The complete results are available here.

The 2016 Student Vote Saskatchewan results will be released at the close of polls on Monday, April 4 (8:00 p.m. CST).

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Democracy Bootcamp BC 2016

February 25th, 2016 by CIVIX

More than 100 teachers from across British Columbia will gather in Vancouver today and tomorrow for Democracy Bootcamp BC 2016!

Democracy Bootcamp is a professional development conference for elementary and secondary teachers, designed to improve their own democratic engagement, strengthen their commitment to civic education and enhance their delivery of the Student Vote program.

The very first Democracy Bootcamp in BC was held exactly a year ago to prepare teachers for the 2015 federal election. Analysis of participation statistics demonstrates that Democracy Bootcamp produced committed and enthusiastic teachers that were more likely to register for Student Vote, involve more colleagues at their school, and engage more than 50 per cent more students compared to non-Bootcamp teachers.

Illustrating extraordinary growth and scope, the story of Student Vote participation in British Columbia was one of the highlights of the 2015 federal election. In total, 179,202 students from nearly 1,100 schools across the province cast a Student Vote ballot for their local candidates.

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Hosted by CIVIX at SFU at the Harbour Centre and the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Democracy Bootcamp BC will facilitate discussions among educators about the successes, challenges and best practices from the recent Student Vote campaign, and conversations about how the program can be improved in advance of the 2017 provincial election.

The schedule for the two-day conference is filled with insightful speakers and special guests. Tonight, teachers will hear from Dave Meslin and Max Cameron on electoral reform and the future of Canada’s democracy.

Friday morning will kick-off with an experienced panel of political strategists offering their analysis on the recent federal election. The panel includes Stockwell Day, Kathleen Monk and Jaime Watt and will be moderated by The Globe and Mail’s Gary Mason.

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After lunch, a panel of provincial pundits featuring Keith Baldrey of Global TV, Justine Hunter of The Globe and Mail and Vaughan Palmer of the Vancouver Sun will share their thoughts on the provincial political landscape and expectations in the year leading up to the next election.

Democracy Bootcamp BC 2016 is made possible with the generous support of Elections BC, Elections Canada, British Columbia Teachers’ Federation and Vancity.

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Elections SK and CIVIX launch the Student Vote program in Saskatchewan

February 24th, 2016 by CIVIX

Students throughout Saskatchewan will have the opportunity to experience the voting process firsthand and practice the habits of informed and engaged citizenship.

Student Vote is a parallel election for elementary and high schools coinciding with official elections. Students will learn about government and the electoral process, engage in the campaign and cast ballots for the official local candidates.

Elections Saskatchewan and CIVIX are partnering to coordinate the Student Vote program for the April 4 provincial election. The program kicked off today during a media event at Miller Comprehensive High School in Regina with Grade 11 and 12 students along with Elections Saskatchewan and CIVIX.

“As we prepare for the 28th General Election the Student Vote program is a great opportunity to engage these future voters,” says Dr.Michael Boda, Chief Electoral Officer of Saskatchewan. “Students are the next generation of voters, and increasing their interest in democracy and elections is important.”

“We encourage all teachers to get involved in Student Vote Saskatchewan and join over 250 schools across the province. It is a privilege to receive the support of Elections Saskatchewan, and our team looks forward to helping teachers make the best learning experience out of this election,” said Taylor Gunn, President and Chief Election Officer of CIVIX.

Schools can register for this free program up until March 14, by signing up at www.studentvote.ca/sk2016 or by calling 1-866-488-8775. Registered schools will receive activity guides, posters, constituency maps, ballots and ballot boxes.

In addition to young students participating in Student Vote, they are also invited to witness democracy in action by attending the voting places during advance voting and election day. When they arrive with their parents, grandparents or other eligible voters, each child will receive a “Future Voter” sticker.

Elections Saskatchewan is the province’s independent, impartial, professional election management body. Given a mandate from the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly, it organizes, manages and oversees provincial electoral events, including the April 4, 2016general election. Information for voters, workers, media, candidates and parties at www.elections.sk.ca.

CIVIX is a non-partisan, national registered charity with a mission to build the skills and habits of citizenship among young Canadians. CIVIX organizes experiential learning opportunities to help young Canadians practice their rights and responsibilities as citizens. Since 2003, CIVIX has coordinated 29 Student Vote programs across Canada. In the recent federal election, 922,000 students cast a ballot from 6,662 schools.

For more information contact:

Taylor Gunn
President and Chief Election Officer
CIVIX Canada
taylor@civix.ca
1-866-488-8775
Tim Kydd 
Senior Director, Communications & Outreach
Elections Saskatchewan 
tim.kydd@elections.sk.ca
(306) 787-7355

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Register for Student Vote Manitoba!

February 9th, 2016 by Dan Allan

The 41st Manitoba general election is scheduled to take place on April 19th, 2016.

CIVIX is pleased to offer the Student Vote program to elementary and high schools across the province with support from the Government of Canada, The Winnipeg Foundation and Elections Manitoba.

Student Vote provides students an opportunity to learn about the workings of government and our electoral system, research the parties and candidates, and experience the voting process firsthand.

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The Student Vote program provides an excellent way to educate students about their rights and responsibilities and provides a teachable moment to discuss important issues and the future of Manitoba.

Student Vote is free and materials are offered in English and French. You can register now at: http://www.studentvote.ca/registration/ or by calling us at 1-866-488-8775.

All registered schools will receive educational resources, campaign posters, ballots and ballot boxes, voting screens, ballots and an election manual, and access to online tools, such as videos and slide decks.

This will be the sixth Student Vote conducted in Manitoba since 2004. In the recent federal election, 34,579 Manitoba students cast ballots from 337 schools. You can see the results for Manitoba ridings here.

In the Brandon Sun, École secondaire Neelin High School teacher Kerri Malazdrewicz says “I think it’s really important so that the kids actually understand what they will have to go through when they actually do vote for their first time. My Grade 9s have just taken it and run with it… They were so excited to cast their ballot and do their due diligence.”

Join hundreds of schools across the province for the upcoming Manitoba provincial election! 

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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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Register now for Student Vote Saskatchewan!

January 25th, 2016 by Dan Allan

The 28th Saskatchewan general election is scheduled to take place on April 4th, 2016.

CIVIX is pleased to collaborate with Elections Saskatchewan to deliver the Student Vote program to elementary and high schools across the province.

Student Vote provides students a chance to learn about the workings of government, debate important issues concerning the province and their community, engage with the candidates and experience the voting process firsthand.

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“For many students, this program is their first introduction to our electoral process. Introducing these topics to your students in the classroom environment, and at this young age, helps build habits of informed and engaged citizens. Your students are the next generation of voters, and increasing their interest in democracy and elections is important to us,” says Dr. Michael Boda, the Chief Electoral Officer of the Province of Saskatchewan.

The Student Vote program is free and materials are offered in English and French. You can register now at: http://www.studentvote.ca/registration/ or by calling us at 1-866-488-8775.

All registered schools will receive activity resources, campaign posters, ballot boxes, voting screens, ballots and an election manual, and access to online tools, such as videos and slide decks.

This will be the sixth Student Vote conducted in Saskatchewan. During the recent federal election, more than 33,000 students cast ballots from 385 schools in Saskatchewan. You can see the results for Saskatchewan ridings here.

In the Prince Albert Daily Herald, Prince Albert Collegiate Institute teacher Greg Walker says “[Student Vote] uses actual ballot boxes and the ballots that the students are using look very similar to the ones that you would use in an actual poll… so when the students actually go through the process they’re getting the experience of what it would be like to actually vote, which then should make it less intimidating for them when they turn 18 to go through the process.”

We hope that you will join us for the upcoming Saskatchewan provincial election! 

The CIVIX Team

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“How to bring discussion about financial issues into the classroom”

January 11th, 2016 by Dan Allan

Last October, the CIVIX team welcomed representatives from the World Bank and the Russian Ministry of Finance.

The 16-member delegation was interested in learning more about financial literacy initiatives for students, as well as our Student Budget Consultation program.

We were also joined by students, and their teachers, from Sandalwood Heights Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario. The students took part in the 2015 Student Budget Consultation (and the 2015 Student Vote), and shared their experiences — including a trip to Ottawa to meet with representatives from the federal Department of Finance.

Ivor Beazley, the Task Team Leader for Budget Literacy Project in Russia, wrote about the presentation on the World Bank’s blog:

The 2008 financial crisis was a “wake up” call to many teachers in the United States and Canada. As families lost their homes and parents lost jobs, they began to appreciate the importance of kids leaving school with some knowledge of the world of finance – especially about how personal decisions are made about finance and how financial decisions taken by government directly affect their lives and future prospects. 

A study group from Moscow and five regions of Russia recently visited Canada and the US to learn more about initiatives in those two countries and to bring discussion about financial issues into the classroom – with the idea of turning today’s students into active and responsible citizens of the future, able to make well-informed personal financial decisions and to engage in discussions about public finances on behalf of themselves and their communities.

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Canada’s “Student Budget Consultation” program is an inspiring example of how to get students engaged and motivated. Each year, students get to debate real budget issues, in real time, and to hear from the real decision makers about the hard choices that have to be made. Students get to look at the facts, hear opinions from politicians, business leaders and other interest groups, debate budget priorities with fellow students, and then express their own views using a survey tool.

The results are then collected from schools across the country and consolidated to express the collective views of students on spending priorities. A small group of students then presents the Student Budget Consultation results on behalf of all the participating schools to the Minister of Finance in Ottawa.

Students told the group that being part of Student Budget Consultation was their first exposure to the topic of budgeting. Having political leaders speak directly to them in their classrooms (via video recordings), and having the opportunity to deal with real life issues, had quite an impact on their thinking, sparking their interest in finance and public affairs and, in some cases, changing the direction of their future studies and career choices.

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Despite a certain fear factor, there was no shortage of teachers willing to get involved and consequently the program has expanded rapidly, with support from governments and non-profit organizations dedicated to civic education and economic education such as CIVIX Canada.

The study group heard some common lessons of experience. First, how helpful it was to involve teachers in the design, testing and evaluation of course materials. Second, how important it is to tie these lessons into the regular student curriculum. Finally, the design of the course needs careful thought about how to engage students’ interest. Introducing the topic of the public budget was easier once students had thought about their personal or family finances.

Real life scenarios, involving real people and events were much more engaging than dreamt-up case studies. And, interactive learning through debate, role plays, and use of technology draws students in. All of this provided much food for thought as Russia pursues its own initiative to promote Budget Literacy in schools.

You can read the original post in its entirety here.

Previously, our team has visited Moscow, Russia and Warsaw, Poland to speak about the Student Budget Consultation.

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