Westsyde Secondary students advocate for lower voting age

May 30th, 2016 by Dan Allan

After taking part in the federal Student Vote last fall, students at Westsyde Secondary School in Kamloops, British Columbia got a “taste of voting” that led them to pursue a project of their own.

Students in Jeremy Reid’s Social Studies 11 class began by learning about democracy and the voting process. When they learned that the voting age in Canada was 18, most students agreed that it should be lowered to 16.

Reid encouraged students to draft their own legislation to address their concerns, and they learned that Green Party leader and Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver was about to introduce bill M229, which if passed would lower the voting age in BC to 16.

Screenshot 2016-06-02 11.46.26

We asked students from the class to share their experience so far:

“Recently our class’s interest was sparked on the subject of lowering the voting age to 16. One day we were doing a project on compulsory voting throughout the world and the subject of 16 year olds voting came up. This started a long discussion on whether or not it was a good idea for 16 year olds to vote and, after some debate, the majority of the class was all for it. So far, during our research on lowering the voting age, we have made a few short videos on the pros and cons of it, we have made plenty of internet memes and have even had news articles written, in order to promote our case. But not everyone is for lowering the voting age. In fact, most adults that have learned about what we are doing have voiced their displeasure on the subject, saying things like ‘they don’t have the common sense,’ or ‘to set such a young age on something this important seems dangerous.’ One person even went as far to say that Mr. Weaver himself is being immature for trying to lower the voting age. A local political scientist, Mr. Pillar, commented saying politics is too boring for young people, and one of the main reasons why kids my age don’t bother listening to politics is because politicians don’t take the younger demographic seriously enough to bother saying things that affect us. If the voting age was lowered to 16, it would force politicians to take our thoughts into account. The next big step we need to take to further action on the bill is to get more politicians on our side and make Bill M229 a reality for the near  future.”
-Grade 11 student Parker

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“We were inspired to have the voting age lowered to 16 because we were learning about politics, and within our government unit, we did a few projects where we looked at studies done by students. The data they collected said if people started voting at a lower age they develop a habit of continuing to vote. In our eyes that seemed to fix the current problem of our age group not voting. As far as the steps we see for the future, we have an appointment to visit our local MLA about the issue and explain our side of the story. In local media, there were comments from people who frown upon the thought of us voting but they are not the ones who should decide our future; we are the leaders of our tomorrow.”
-Grade 11 students Nayab, Savannah and Reece

The class will provide an update on their project after meeting with Terry Lake, the MLA for their local riding of Kamloops-North Thompson, next week. Stay tuned for more!

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Student Vote Manitoba

April 26th, 2016 by CIVIX

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Student Vote Manitoba: The Results

April 19th, 2016 by Dan Allan

Pallister and the PC Party win majority government in province-wide Student Vote

More than 20,000 elementary and high school students participated in the Student Vote program for the 2016 Manitoba provincial election.

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

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By 4 p.m. today, 243 schools had reported their election results, representing all 57 electoral divisions in the province. In total, 21,159 ballots were cast by student participants; 20,100 valid votes, 801 rejected votes and 258 declined ballots.

There were many close races in the province, with 7 electoral divisions decided by 10 votes or fewer.

Students elected Brian Pallister and the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba to a majority government with 30 seats and 35.4 per cent of the vote. Party leader Brian Pallister won in his electoral division of Fort Whyte with 55.2 per cent of the vote.

The NDP won 14 seats and will form the Student Vote official opposition, receiving 27.3 per cent of the popular vote. Party leader Greg Selinger was defeated in the St. Boniface electoral division.

The Manitoba Liberal Party won 11 seats and received 23.8 per cent of the vote. Party leader Rana Bokhari did not win in her electoral division of Fort Rouge.

The Green Party won 2 seats with 9.6 per cent of the vote. Party leader James Beddome was not elected in his electoral division of Fort Garry-Riverview.

Student Vote MB - Results Graphic

“CIVIX would like to thank all of the dedicated teachers for leading Student Vote in their schools, many for a second time this school year,” said Taylor Gunn, President and Chief Election Officer of CIVIX. “This impressive Student Vote participation is a reflection of the incredible effort put forth by Manitoba educators to ensure that students build the habits of active and informed citizenship at an early age.”

This is the second provincial-level Student Vote project conducted in Manitoba. In 2011, 17,560 students participated from 186 schools.

The 2016 project was made possible by the Youth Take Charge program at the Government of Canada and the Winnipeg Foundation.

VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS HERE: http://studentvote.ca/results/mb2016  

 

Results Highlights:

  • Only one political party leader won their seat: Brian Pallister (PC Party) in Fort Whyte. Greg Selinger (NDP), Rana Bokhari (Liberal), James Beddome (Green), Darrell Rankin (Communist) and Gary Marshall (Manitoba Party) were defeated in their electoral divisions.
  • The electoral division of Assiniboia had the greatest number of participants with 1,097 valid votes. Fort Richmond was second with 1,026, followed by Kildonan with 833.
  • Midland had 12 schools report results – more than any other electoral division.

 

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 Manitoba provincial election with support from the Government of Canada and The Winnipeg Foundation.

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Student Vote Day in Manitoba

April 18th, 2016 by Dan Allan

April 18 is Student Vote day in Manitoba! Elementary and high schools across the province will cast ballots for the official candidates running in the 2016 provincial election.

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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 Manitoba.

As many as 20,000 elementary and secondary students are expected to participate from 287 schools representing all 57 electoral divisions. You can view all participating schools on our interactive map.

In addition to election materials, a wide variety of online tools have been made available to participating schools. The Student Vote Manitoba 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 their submissions were shared with the provincial political parties. The questions focused on issues like education, healthcare and taxes. Responses were received from Greg Selinger (NDP), Brian Pallister (PC), Rana Bokhari (Liberal) and James Beddome (Green). The questions and answers can all be viewed here.

Students also took part in the Celebrating our Right to Vote multimedia contest to commemorate the anniversary of women’s right to vote and the pathway to universal suffrage. We received many great submissions, including videos, photos, drawings and essays. You can view the winning entries here.

With support from the Government of Canada and The Winnipeg Foundation, CIVIX is offering the Student Vote program to elementary and secondary schools across the province for the 2016 provincial election.

This will be the seventh Student Vote program conducted in Manitoba. During the 2011 provincial Student Vote, more than 17,560 students cast ballots from 234 schools.

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

The 2016 Student Vote Manitoba results will be released at the close of polls on Tuesday, April 19 (8:00 p.m. CDT).

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‘Celebrating our Right to Vote’ Contest Winners

April 15th, 2016 by Dan Allan

January 28, 2016 marked the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Manitoba. Manitoba was the first province in Canada to provide women with the legal right to vote in elections, a trend that quickly spread across the country.

Student Vote Manitoba participants were invited to take part in the ‘Celebrating our Right to Vote’ multimedia contest to commemorate the anniversary of women’s right to vote and the pathway to universal suffrage.

The contest is divided into two categories – Visual/Multimedia and Written – and entries from elementary and high school students included posters, photos, videos, essays and any other creative content that celebrates the important milestone and encourages Manitobans to vote on election day.

Submissions were received from schools across the province, and CIVIX has selected one winner and one runner-up for each of the two categories. They will each receive a $100 gift certificate to Chapters/Indigo. Complete contest details are available here.

Here are the winning submissions from the Visual/Multimedia category:

WINNER:

Jenna from Linden Christian School in Winnipeg created a video on Nellie McClung.

RUNNER-UP:

Grade 5 students at Springfield Heights Elementary School in Winnipeg shared photos of posters they created about the The Famous Five.

Springfield Heights Elementary School 2

 

Here are the winning submissions from the Written category:

WINNER:

Aleah from Riverbend Colony School in Carberry for her essay on Nellie McClung.

It has been one hundred years now that women have had a right to vote! I have looked into Nellie McClung, the order which provinces gave women the vote, and how voting changed women’s lives. These are important steps in achieving the vote for women everywhere. There is much to learn and know about the right to vote for women.

Nellie McClung was a women’s rights activist. She worked really hard to get women the right to vote. She married a man whose mother was very active in politics. She held a mock parliament where she was the Premier and men had to beg for her vote. She was really successful in the mock parliament.

The first province who gave the women the right vote was Manitoba in January 28th, 1916, closely followed by Saskatchewan and Alberta. British Columbia and Ontario were next in 1917, Nova Scotia in 1918, and a year later New Brunswick in 1919. Women could not run for New Brunswick provincial office until 1934, Prince Edward Island in 1922, and Newfoundland in 1925. Quebec was the last province in Canada to give women the right to vote in August 8th, 1944.

In this era women were serving in the war, taking over for the men in the factories and offices, holding families together while the men were overseas, and working in voluntary organizations so they couldn’t be kept out of political life any longer. Women took their voting responsibilities seriously and used their votes for what they wanted changed. As soon as women got the right to vote they abolished alcohol.

The right to vote really changed women lives. Women got the federal vote in three stages: 1) the military Votes Act of 1917 allowed nurses and women in the armed services to vote, 2) The Wartime Election Act on September 20, 1917 extended the vote to women who had husbands, sons and fathers serving overseas, 3) All the women over 21 were allowed to vote on January 1st, 1919.

I am very proud to live in Manitoba, because they gave women the right to vote first. I think everyone should know the history of women’s right to vote, and who fought for women to get these rights. It has been very interesting researching women’s right to vote. If had have lived back then, I would probably not have had the courage to stand up and fight for women’s rights as Nellie McClung and countless others had.

RUNNER-UP:

Grade 9 and 10 students at West Valley School in Darlingford created a presentation on the Famous Five, and also include soapstone carvings of the provincial party logos.

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The complete presentation can be accessed here.

All submitted videos can be viewed in our YouTube playlist. All submitted photos are posted in our Facebook album.

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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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