Weekly Round-Up: December 11, 2015

December 11th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

MPs back to work

After last week’s Speech from the Throne (which you can watch here), Members of Parliament were back at it on Monday with the return of question period. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet fielded questions on subjects that included Canada’s military missions in the Middle East, the national debt and income taxes.

The current format for question period could soon change as the Liberals plan to introduce a “prime minister’s question period” similar to what is currently seen in the British Parliament. The British prime minister responds to questions each Wednesday from a randomly selected group of MPs. Éric Grenier examined some of the pros and cons of this potential shift.

Electoral reform update

The government has also committed to another change: that the 2015 federal election would be the last to use the First-Past-the-Post electoral system. Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose is demanding the government hold a referendum on any proposed changes, but the Liberals will only commit to a “broad, cross-party consultation process”. Maclean’s and the Globe and Mail also support a public vote on the matter.

Electoral reform is also on the agenda in Prince Edward Island. After six months of public education and consultation, a plebiscite will be held in November 2016 to reconsider the use of First-Past-the-Post for future provincial elections. A similar proposal was rejected by voters in 2005.

Bélanger to serve as honourary speaker

Veteran Ottawa Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger intended to run for the Speaker’s chair but dropped out after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

On Wednesday, a motion to make Bélanger an honorary occupant of the Speaker’s chair for a day was met with unanimous consent and a “thunderous standing ovation”.

Leadership race rundown

The Conservative Party is “in no rush to select new leader”, according to the Toronto Star’s Chantal Hébert. Possible contenders for the yet to be scheduled race include Brad Wall, Jason Kenney and Lisa Raitt.

Will the NDP have a new leader for the next federal election? Tom Mulcair wants to stay on as leader, according to Postmedia’s John Ivison, but “anything short of 75 per cent” at his party’s mandatory leadership review in April could put that in jeopardy.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: December 4, 2015

December 4th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Parliament returns

Canada’s 42nd Parliament is now underway! The first order of business was the election of the new House of Commons Speaker, and Halifax West MP Geoff Regan was chosen by his peers. MPs Yasmin Ratansi, Denis Paradis and Bruce Stanton were also in contention for the Speaker’s chair.

For the first time in decades, MPs voted for their new speaker using a single ranked preferential ballot. In the past, a run-off system was used that often saw multiple rounds of voting. In other news from Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed 35 parliamentary secretaries and Former Conservative Senator Jacques Demers will now sit as an independent.

The Speech from the Throne

The new Speaker’s first job will be to preside over this afternoon’s Throne Speech. The speech, to be delivered by Governor General David Johnston, will outline Trudeau’s agenda for the current parliamentary session.

The speech is expected to focus on the immediate priorities of the new government. The speech is expected to be “low-key” and one of the shortest in Canadian history. You can watch the speech online here.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s new premier

The Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal Party, led by Dwight Ball, won a “landslide victory” on Monday by winning 31 of 40 seats in the House of Assembly. The Progressive Conservatives, led by outgoing-premier Paul Davis will form the opposition with 7 seats. The NDP finished in third with two seats. Voter turnout was a “record-low” 55.2 per cent.

In the Student Vote, students across NL took on the roles of election officials and cast ballots for the candidates running in their local electoral district. Like the adults, students elected a Liberal majority government. In total, 4,047 ballots were reported from 42 schools, representing 28 out of 40 electoral districts. You can view the results here. You can read more coverage of the results in The Telegram.

Democratic reform update

The results of a new poll from Abacus Data and commissioned by the Broadbent Institute suggests that most Canadians believe the federal electoral system needs to be changed. The Liberals promised during the recent federal election campaign that the 2015 election would be the last contested using the First-Past-the-Post system.

And on Thursday, the federal government announced changes to how Senators will be named to the Red Chamber. An arm’s-length advisory board will be created to consult widely and recommend to the prime minister a short list of five merit-based nominees to fill each vacancy. Five vacancies will be filled in January, and another 17 by the end of next year.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Premier McNeil visits St. Joseph’s – A. McKay Elementary

December 1st, 2015 by Dan Allan

Students at St. Joseph’s – A. McKay Elementary in Halifax had a special visitor on Wednesday, November 25: Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil.

Grade 6 teacher Paulette O’Connor explains:

One of my students, who became interested in politics as a result of the federal Student Vote, sent the premier a letter and invited him to come to speak to us. His office called to confirm that he was coming and the students prepared questions they wanted to ask him.

photo 2

The visit went great with the premier. He was here for an hour and it was all Q and A. The kids were amazing and even tried to teach him the Whip Nae Nae!

There were many great questions, including:

  • How does the government work in Nova Scotia?
  • How do laws get passed?
  • Will you lower gas prices to give us a break?
  • Is it easier to pass laws with a majority or minority government?
  • How will you keep young people from leaving Nova Scotia when there are few jobs?

One girl even asked how she could get into politics. The premier loved the question about the pros and cons about having a majority government.

photo 4

Overall, it was a fantastic event that came out of our engagement in Student Vote. The program is a wonderful opportunity to get an inner-city community involved in politics.

We would like to thank Premier McNeil and the students and staff at St. Joseph’s – A. McKay Elementary for facilitating the event and sharing the details with us.

The class also took part in our federal Student Vote program and asked the party leaders a question on refugees: 

The CIVIX Team

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Weekly Round-Up: November 27, 2015

November 27th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

NL election countdown

The Newfoundland and Labrador provincial election is just a few days away! All polls point to a sizable win for Liberal leader Dwight Ball over PC leader Paul Davis, but there is some debate over just how big that lead really is. A CRA poll shows the Liberals “poised to sweep” the province, Forum has the Tories “closing the gap” and the latest numbers from Abacus Data show a “commanding Liberal lead”. We’ll only know for sure when polls close on Monday night.

Students from across the province will also take part in the election through our Student Vote program. We expect that more than 5,000 elementary and secondary students from as many as 48 schools to participate from 31 of the province’s electoral districts. You can view all participating schools on our interactive map. All three leaders also took part in our video Q&A

NWT election recap

The Northwest Territories went to the polls on Monday and the electorate “delivered a blunt demand for change” as eight sitting MLAs lost their seats. The unofficial results are available here. Voter turnout was 43.6 per cent. The newly elected MLAs will meet on December 17 to select the speaker, premier and cabinet.

In the Student Vote, students across the NWT took on the roles of election officials and cast ballots for the election candidates running in the 2015 territorial election. In total, 389 votes were cast from 11 schools representing 13 electoral districts. You can view the results here.

Trudeau meets the Queen

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday as part of his first full bilateral trip. Trudeau later met with British PM David Cameron.

Trudeau will also attend the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Malta starting today, and will attend the first day of the Paris climate summit next week.

Remembering Manmeet Bhullar

Calgary-Greenway MLA Manmeet Bhullar died in an accident Monday when he stopped to help another motorist. Tributes for Bhullar poured in from premiers past and present, as well as other MLAs and politicians and members of the public from across Canada. You can share your condolences with the Bhullar family here.

Question period on Wednesday was dedicated to Bhullar and every question was one he would have asked on the issues he was most passionate about. The day was described as “terribly sad, but beautiful too”, and “one of the legislature’s greatest days”. A state memorial service will be held Sunday in Calgary.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: November 20, 2015

November 20th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Trudeau’s debut on the world stage

Just more than a month removed from the federal election, newly sworn-in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spent the past week on a “globe-spanning trip” that has taken him from the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey to the APEC summit in Manila, Philippines.

Among the many notable world leaders in attendance, Trudeau’s meeting with US President Barack Obama was perhaps the most notable during the tour. The two leaders discussed trade, terrorism, the economy, energy, climate and refugees on Thursday – as well as tips for keeping ones hair from going grey.

NWT voters head to the polls on Monday

The Northwest Territories heads to the polls on Monday for their territorial general election. Consensus government is used in the NWT (and Nunavut), and the premier, cabinet and speaker are chosen by elected MLAs shortly after the election. The Elections NWT has a handy Polling Station Locator, if you’re not sure of where to vote.

Elementary and secondary students from across the province will also be casting ballots, as part of the Student Vote NWT program. If you’re looking to learn more about the candidates, we asked each to reply to two student-focused questions through video or a written response. You can view all of the submissions here.

Nominations close in Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is in the midst of their own provincial election campaign. Candidate nominations close today, and election day is set for November 30. The Progressive Conservatives, led by current Premier Paul Davis, may not be able to field a full slate of candidates and currently trail in the latest Abacus Data polling.

The NTV leaders’ debate took place earlier this week (you can watch a replay here), and the final debate of the campaign is set for Monday. Voter information cards should be arriving in mailboxes across the province, but if you’re not sure where, when or how to vote you can visit the Elections NL website. We will also be running a Student Vote program for schools.

Conservative leadership update

Interim Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose has named Denis Lebel to serve as deputy leader of the Conservative caucus, and former-speaker Andrew Scheer to take over as the party’s House leader. The party’s official leadership race is not yet underway, but there are rumblings that MPs Maxime Bernier and Michael Chong could be considering bids.

The Conservatives lost a member on Wednesday, however, when New Brunswick Senator John Wallace quit to sit an independent, citing “irreconcilable differences” with the party. There are currently seven other independent senators in the upper chamber.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: November 13, 2015

November 13th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Canada’s new prime minister

We were unable to post the ‘Weekly Round-Up’ last week, so had to wait to share that Justin Trudeau was officially sworn in as Canada’s twenty-third prime minister by Governor General David Johnston, along with the members of his cabinet.

Who made it to cabinet? You can read a full list here. There is regional balance and, because its 2015, it is evenly made up of men and women. You can see all 31 cabinet members in action when the House of Commons returns on December 3 with a speech from the throne.

The (interim) leader of the Opposition

The first Question Period of the 42nd parliament will be led by Rona Ambrose, the Conservative’s party interim leader and interim leader of the Opposition. Ambrose was chosen for the job last week.

In British Columbia, John Horgan will stay on as provincial NDP leader for the next election, scheduled for 2017. Horgan received 95 per cent support at the party’s convention as part of a mandatory leadership review.

Quebec by-elections

Four provincial by-elections were held in Quebec on Monday, and the Liberals won three of them. The Liberals won in Fabre, Beauce-Sud and St-Henri–Ste-Anne, while the Parti Quebecois took René-Lévesque in the Saguenay region.

Voter turnout was low for all four by-elections, ranging from a low of 22 per cent (in Fabre) to a high of 43 per cent (in Beauce-Sud). Full results and statistics are available on the Elections Quebec website.

Provincial/territorial election update

Did you know that the Northwest Territories and Newfoundland and Labrador are in the midst of their own elections? The NWT heads to the polls on November 23 and NL voters cast ballots on November 30.

Polls in Newfoundland and Labrador suggest a Liberal “landslide” win, with Dwight Ball’s party poised to take about 66 per cent of support. This puts them well ahead of the Progressive Conservatives, led by current-premier Paul Davis, who are currently polling at 19 per cent.

With just more than a week remaining until election day in the NWT, one seat has already been determined! Jackson Lafferty was acclaimed in the Monfwi electoral district as he was unopposed. A full list of candidates is available here.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: October 30, 2015

October 30th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Government transition continues

Prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau has announced that the House of Commons will reconvene in December. The specific date has not yet been set, but a speech from the throne will be read to lay out the new government’s agenda. Trudeau’s will be sworn-in and announce his cabinet next week.

The old PM has to resign before the new one take over, and Stephen Harper will formally step down on November 4. The Harper family is moving back to Calgary, while the Trudeaus are set to move into Rideau Cottage (rather than 24 Sussex). Harper plans to stay on as the MP for Calgary Heritage (and may also have an airport named after him).

Judicial recounts underway

The federal election is over but there’s still a chance that some ridings could change hands. Recounts are underway in four ridings: Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte (108 votes), Montmagny–L’Islet–Kamouraska–Rivière-du-Loup (269 votes), Hochelaga (541 votes) and Regina–Lewvan (132 votes). A fifth recount was completed in Edmonton Mill Woods and confirmed the Liberal victory.

Judicial recounts are mandatory if the vote margin difference between the first and second-place candidates is less than one one-thousandth of the valid votes cast. They can also be done at the request of a candidate if there are questions about miscounted or rejected ballots.

The final Student Vote results

In total, 6,760 schools participated in Student Vote this election with 922,000 students casting a ballot, representing all 338 electoral districts. You can watch the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge break down the results in this video:

Like the results of the official election, students elected a Liberal majority government and a Conservative official opposition. You can access the final results here. Wanted to keep your class engaged with their democracy? There’s still time to take part in the National Democracy Challenge.

Budget day in Alberta

The Alberta NDP presented their first-ever provincial budget in Tuesday and Finance Minister Joe Ceci unveiled the plan that will see the province run its largest deficit to date.

What did the budget include? The Globe and Mail has put together a list of ‘nine takeaways’, or you can read the entire document here.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: October 23, 2015

October 23rd, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Canadians elect a Liberal majority government

The results are in! Canada’s 42nd general election took place on Monday and Canadians elected a Liberal majority government led by Justin Trudeau. The Conservatives came in second and will form the official opposition, while the NDP finished in third place. Complete results are available on the Elections Canada website.

Voter turnout jumped to 68.5 per cent for this election, up from 61.1 per cent in 2011 and 58.8 per cent in 2008. This is the highest level of turnout since 1993, when Jean Chrétien’s Liberals won a majority (and the Blue Jays won the World Series).

The Student Vote results

The Student Vote program also saw record participation, with more than 900,000 students under the voting age casting ballots from 6,500 elementary and secondary schools across the country. Like the adults, they elected a Liberal majority with a Conservative opposition. The complete riding-by-riding results are available here.

The program, and the results, have garnered some great media attention from across the country. They were covered by the Globe and Mail, Radio-Canada and many other local and regional papers and stations. Thanks again to the thousands of dedicated and enthusiastic educators who helped make the program a success!

Transition of power

Having won the election, Trudeau’s team has begun the transition to power. The prime minister-designate met with the outgoing PM on Wednesday afternoon before coming together again with Harper on Thursday morning to lay a wreath in remembrance of the two Canadian soldiers killed last October.

Trudeau will name his cabinet on November 4 and has committed to it being gender balanced. The House of Commons will return shortly thereafter, with electoral reform possibly at the top of the agenda.

Leadership races underway

Monday’s election result has sparked at least two leadership races. Gilles Duceppe has (once again) stepped down as Bloc Québécois leader, and Harper resigned from the Conservative top job. Thomas Mulcair and Elizabeth May are staying on as NDP and Green leaders, for now at least, although there is a petition for May to become the Liberal environment minister.

No date has been set for either upcoming leadership convention, but potential Conservative candidates have begun to make themselves known. Diane Finley has expressed interested in the interim job, and Michelle Rempel has mused about running on Twitter.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Principled not partisan: A lesson from students on the future of Canada’s democracy

October 22nd, 2015 by CIVIX

In the early days of summer, before the election was even called, CIVIX began planning a project that would give young Canadians a voice throughout the campaign, rather than just at its close. Too often, students are only heard from after official polls close and the results are already known. We wanted to change this by inaugurating the Student Ambassador Network: an online initiative to share what future voters have to say about the 2015 federal election, and foster dialogue among high school students with those outside of their own personal and political circles. 

Beginning in September, students registered to become a Student Ambassador and received mandates from CIVIX each week. I have had the pleasure of reading and responding to these mandates, and was finally able to complete one myself last week after travelling across Canada to document the Student Vote experience.

From Halifax, to Edmonton, to Calgary, I found that students of all political stripes want a democratic process that is “civil and substantive”. This sentiment was first expressed in the Student Ambassadors’ live commentary on the leaders’ debates and has been echoed throughout the country and throughout the campaign.

Last Tuesday morning in Halifax I attended Prince Andrew High School’s all-candidates’ forum at the invitation of Keshav, the Student Ambassador responsible for organizing the event.  Representatives from every level of government were in attendance, including the mayor of Halifax Michael Savage, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Environment Andrew Younger, provincial leader of the opposition Jamie Baillie, and all four federal candidates from Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. Even Joel Plaskett was there to perform!

In front of these dignitaries and a packed auditorium, Keshav made an opening remark that I won’t soon forget:

“We have the opportunity to create change, an opportunity that many youth around the world don’t have. There is nothing more influential than an informed group of youth. We need to find a passion that we believe in and build on it. It’s about being principled, not partisan. It’s about the policies that are best for Canada.”

Keshav perfectly articulated an idea that so many Canadian youth seem to share – “principled, not partisan”. Could you imagine how robust our democracy would be if every Member of Parliament abided by the same standard?               


Keshav and all four federal candidates in Darthmouth-Cole Harbour.


Obligatory post-forum selfie!


The sentiment followed me to Edmonton on Wednesday, where students from Victoria School of the Arts were participating in #CBCAsks. The CBC and Student Vote teamed up to find out what matters to Canada’s future voters, and I was there to represent CIVIX and raise awareness about the issues, concerns and hopes that high school students voiced about the election.

The first question posed to students was: What attributes are important in a leader? The first response was respect.

Our conversation quickly turned to the use of negative advertisements by all political parties in attempt to gain voter favour. One student raised her hand, “I think that policies should show the contrasts between parties, not attack ads. Leaders should tell us more about why their party is the right choice, and less about why the others are the wrong one.”

On Thursday morning, the conversation continued across the country in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver with similar answers repeated by future voters from east to west. Tweeting from the event at East York Collegiate Institute in Toronto, CBC news anchor Reshmi Nair picked up the trend.

In what The Globe and Mail’s Gary Mason and others have deemed the most “belligerent and divisive and, ultimately, un-Canadian” election in recent memory, the want of our youth for considerate and cooperative government is refreshing.

More than 922,000 future voters cast a Student Vote ballot, making sure their voices were heard in Canada’s 42nd federal election. Young Canadians from coast to coast to coast are willing and able to engage in our democratic process in an unprecedented number. Though none of their ballots affected the official outcome of the election, their shared idea could decide the future of our democracy.

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The Student Ambassador Network documents Student Vote 2015 from coast to coast

October 20th, 2015 by CIVIX

Last week we asked the Student Ambassador Network to document the Student Vote experience at their school. Once again we would like to share some of the outstanding responses that we’ve received. 


Edmonton West, Alberta

OCT. 3, EDMONTON – The Globe and Mail visited Blessed Oscar Romero High School to interview students (including Nick) and teachers about their Student Vote 2015 experience.



Vancouver Granville, British Columbia  

OCT. 9, VANCOUVER — Students at Ideal Mini School lined up to cast their ballots in the Student Vote Election today.

Ideal Mini School sits in the newly created riding of Vancouver-Granville, which has been a serious battleground for all parties since the beginning of the election. The major parties have been campaigning aggressively; Candidates and staff wave signs, distribute flyers and attend schools for Q&A sessions. Ideal Mini was visited by the NDP’s Mira Oreck, Jody Wilson Raybould of the Liberal Party, and Elain Ng of the Greens. On separate occasions, candidates took questions from the Grade 11 social studies class (Wilson-Raybould simultaneously saw the Grade 12 history students).

When asked if these meetings helped shape his decision on voting day Adam Atbi, 16, said the following: “Yes it did. It helps to get face to face with the person who representing you, versus what they and the party stand for. Also, How well they do answering our questions gives a small clue at how they will do with the whole house [of Commons] yelling at them.”

The polling station was open for most of the morning, and featured official Elections Canada ballots and voting screens. Students performed the roles of Poll Clerk, Deputy Returning Officer and Scrutineer.

The Student Vote election results will be broadcast alongside the official election results on October 19th.


Kitchener South-Hespeler, Ontario 

OCT. 14, KITCHENER – Over 2,000 students at St. Mary’s High school participated in a mock federal election by voting for the candidates from each party that represented the Kitchener South-Hespeler riding.

Since the beginning of the school year, the St. Mary’s Student Vote Team worked diligently to create posters, banners and a master slide show that would help inform the students of the school. Not only did they advertise and educate about the most important and relevant points of each party’s platform, but they also shared some background information on each candidate.

Though it took a significant amount of time to prepare and conduct each duty, the actual voting process happened fairly quickly. Most of the members of the Student Vote Team were signed out of their first and second period classes to distribute the ballots to each class, and then to later tally them.

This year, the Student Vote Team also offered mobile polling stations where two or three members of the Student Vote Team would go to specific classes and explain the platforms and concerns of each party and candidate. Civics classes, history classes and ESL classes found these mobile polling stations to be very effective, as each Student Vote Member would answer questions regarding each candidate and would also remind them of the importance of having the right to vote. It was also a more authentic experience for these students, as each mobile polling station would provide portable voting stalls for each voter to vote in during the event. This simulated a real voting experience.  For those classes that did not request a mobile polling station, they watched the PowerPoints that we previously made on each candidate and their party platform.

Overall, Student Vote Day 2015 was by far more successful than the previous municipal election last year. More students seemed to be engaged, either through the posters, banners and general conversations fostered by the Student Vote Team. The advertising throughout the media, from Twitter, radio stations and TV commercials have garnered the interest of not only eligible voters but also future voters. Mr. Justin Trudeau’s youth and the exciting electoral debates between him and Mr. Harper and Mr. Mulcair generated a lot of interest in the younger demographic. It is exciting to see that more and more students are willing to contribute to the political dialogue that affects the country.


Kitchener South-Hespeler

Student Vote 2015 at St. Mary’s High School in Kitchener South-Hespeler.


Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario

 OCT. 15, LONDON – Nearly 300 students from London District Christian Secondary School cast a Student Vote ballot on their local candidates.

London District Christian Secondary School was one of many schools that participated in CIVIX’s Student Vote 2015. Approximately 300 students from the London, Ontario high school learned about the electoral process through a vote for under-age citizens. The school’s grade 10 Civics and Citizenship ran the vote just like a real vote, with polling clerks, ushers, scrutineers, and deputy returning officers. Results are yet to be released. Students, as well as all Canadians will know the results of the Student Vote and the adult Vote on Tuesday, October 20.”          


Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia

OCT. 15, HALIFAX – Keshav organized an all-candidates’ forum at Prince Andrew High School to engage the student body. Representatives from every level of government were in attendance, including the mayor of Halifax Michael Savage, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Environment Andrew Younger, provincial leader of the opposition Jamie Baillie, and all four federal candidates from Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. Even Joel Plaskett was there to perform!


Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, Ontario

OCT. 15, KEMPTVILLE – Peyton wrote a blog post to share the election excitement at St. Michael Catholic School. 

Students at Peyton's high school in Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Island and Rideau Lakes

Students from St. Michael Catholic High School in Leeds-Greenville-Thousand Island and Rideau Lakes.
















Langley Aldergrove, British Columbia

OCT. 17, LANGLEY – Students at Pacific Academy got informed and excited about Canada’s 42nd election through Student Vote 2015.

When the time came for my class to vote, it was an exhilarating experience! We had a discussion in class about where each party stands on certain issues, and also had a discussion about each leader. Though the people (parents, teachers, and by extension, students) in my school overwhelmingly support one party, the discussion swayed some students after finding out more about policies and leaders. There was an air of energy in the line as ballots were cast.

Most students based their votes on matters that affected them personally, such as which party benefits their family the most financially. However, they also considered what they thought would be best for Canadians and looked to the future when casting their ballots, considering what each party had to say about the environment, healthcare, and electoral reform.

Initially, some students were apathetic to the whole voting process, since they didn’t see the importance of voting and didn’t really understand the differences between the parties. However, students who closely follow the election, myself included, filled them in on some of the issues and made them realize the importance of voting and making your voice heard. Through the general interest the majority of students had in the election, it’s an encouraging sign that Future Voters will turn up in large numbers and be genuinely interested in politics once they’re able to vote in a “real” election.

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