Canada 150

June 29th, 2017 by Sabrina Sousa

This year, Canada Day marks a significant milestone as it has been 150 years since Confederation when Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick came together to form the Dominion of Canada. Through the British North America Act of 1867, each of these former British colonies united as one independent nation.

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Canada 150 celebrates the history of our country’s sovereignty and the appreciation of Canadian values including diversity, the environment and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Here are some interesting links you can use to get involved in and stay informed about Canada 150 celebrations:

  • Celebrating diversity and multiculturalism, 150 Stories recognizes remarkable Canadians, organizations, and events and how they have impacted Canada with their message.
  • Celebrate Canada 150 with the city of Toronto’s four-day festival at Nathan Phillips Square.
  • Mark Canada Day with 10 new stamps by Canada Post celebrating Canada’s 150th.
  • Enjoy an old-fashioned parade, free breakfast, and music at Calgary’s Heritage Park.
  • Agri-Food Canada is celebrating 150 years of growth, development and sustainability. Read about their history, impact, events and celebrations.
  • Along with Canada turning 150, Montreal is celebrating its 375th birthday this year.
  • Take the “Get to know your contemporary Indigenous artists” quiz to learn about significant figures in the Indigenous arts community.
  • Visit Vancouver’s Granville Island for a day full of music, street entertainment, and food.
  • In honour of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the Royal Canadian Mint is introducing new commemorative circulation and collectible coins.

Read some of our past Canada Day blog posts:

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Today is National Aboriginal Day!

June 21st, 2017 by CIVIX

The CIVIX team wants to recognize and celebrate the outstanding contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples who have inhabited Turtle Island, North America, for millennia to our country on this National Aboriginal Day.

Our national office is located on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community, on the territory that is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island. 

The National Aboriginal Day was announced in 1996 by then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc. This celebration takes place every year on June 21st, and the date was chosen because of the summer solstice. The summer solstice has great spiritual and cultural importance to many Indigenous peoples, who celebrate their heritage on this date. The Trudeau government has promised to rename this celebration to National Indigenous Day, to ensure consistency with international terminology. Special events across Canada are organized this year to commemorate this special day as well as Canada 150.

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There are positive and joyful things to celebrate on National Aboriginal Day. Earlier this month, thirty Indigenous leaders and non-Indigenous allies were honoured at Rideau Hall and appointed to the Order of Canada for their outstanding contribution to Indigenous peoples in Canada. There is also a growing revitalization of many Indigenous languages and traditional practices throughout the country, led by Indigenous youth, elders and leaders who contribute to the vibrancy of Indigenous cultures.

It is also a day to acknowledge the harm caused to Indigenous peoples over the years by the Residential School system and other colonial policies, and the long-lasting impacts on communities and individuals across Canada. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission was put in place a few years ago to investigate into the mistreatment of Indigenous children and offer solutions to the intergenerational trauma caused by this system. Recently, the government of Canada has launched a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls to document, listen to testimonies, and offer solutions to the thousands of deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women.

Many resources are available to explore these issues and the significance of National Aboriginal Day:

National Aboriginal Day: Description, Activities, and Learning resources (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada website)

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on National Aboriginal Day” (Prime Minister’s Office, June 21st)

Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada,” (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, 2015)

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,” (MMIWG website)

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Democracy Bootcamp B.C. 2017

February 23rd, 2017 by CIVIX

To gear up for the May provincial election, 170 educators from across British Columbia will gather in Vancouver on February 23 and 24 for Democracy Bootcamp BC 2017.

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

This is our third and largest professional development conference in the province to date. Previous events took place in February 2015 and February 2016.

The schedule for the two-day conference is filled with engaging and thoughtful speakers and presentations. On opening night, teachers will hear from B.C.’s Chief Electoral Officer Keith Archer, as well as a panel on ‘the state of our democracy’ featuring John Ibbitson (Globe and Mail), Kathleen Monk (Earnscliffe) and David Moscrop (UBC).

Friday’s agenda includes an exploration of voting research and the impact of Student Vote, as well as a preview of the Student Vote resource materials for the coming election. Educators will also have the opportunity to hear from and speak with their colleagues about best practices, and will receive suggestions on how to integrate a variety of campaign tools.

An experienced panel of political strategists (Don Guy, Jaime Watt and Raj Sihota) will share their insights on what happens ‘behind the scenes’ during a political campaign. In the afternoon, a panel featuring representatives from provincial political parties will discuss major campaign issues, and educators will also have the opportunity to learn and share some tips for organizing their own candidates’ debate. Both panels will be moderated by Justine Hunter (Globe and Mail).

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The 2017 event is made possible with the generous support of Elections BC, Elections Canada, Vancity and the Vancouver Foundation.

Democracy Bootcamp has previously been proven to enhance the reach and quality of the Student Vote program, and we hope that it will contribute to our best Student Vote program in British Columbia this spring.

Based on analysis of Student Vote participation statistics from the 2015 federal election, it was found that Democracy Bootcamp resulted in committed and enthusiastic teachers who were more likely to register for Student Vote, complete the program entirely (submit results) and engage 50 per cent more students than non-attendees.

Furthermore, an independent evaluation commissioned by Elections Canada also found that the Democracy Bootcamps had a relatively consistent and positive impact on student voting intentions, and a significant impact on political knowledge among elementary students, as well as political discussion among elementary and secondary students. Overall, Bootcamp attendees spent more time teaching about the election, specifically tracking media coverage, engaging with local candidates, analyzing political ads and encouraging students to talk about the election at home.

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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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Getting Young Canadians Ready for the Federal Election with Student Vote

September 15th, 2015 by CIVIX

The federal election is scheduled for October 19 and, fittingly, the theme of this year’s Canada’s Democracy Week is “Let’s Get Canada Ready to Vote!” As the Student Vote program shows, preparing young Canadians for the voting process can, and should, start at an early age.

Since 2003, the Student Vote program has been giving students under the voting age the opportunity to experience the voting process and have a voice in the election.

Student Vote is a parallel election program offered to elementary and high schools during official federal, provincial and municipal elections. Participating students learn about government and the electoral process, research the party platforms and local candidates, and participate in an authentic vote for the official candidates in their school’s riding.

Registered schools receive all the material necessary to run the program, including educational resources, an election manual, posters, voting screens, ballot boxes and ballots.

This fall will be the fifth Student Vote project organized at the federal level. In the last federal election, 563,000 students across Canada cast a Student Vote ballot, and an estimated 700,000 will do so this fall.

Why is it important to engage students in the electoral process?

Voter turnout in Canada has been declining for decades and is driven especially by low voter turnout among youth. In the 2011 federal election, only 39 percent of voters aged 18–24 voted, compared to 70 percent of voters aged 55 and over.

Not only is turnout among young Canadians at historic lows, but studies have shown that habits of voting and non-voting persist over time, which is why it is all the more important for young Canadians to begin voting when they are first eligible.

The goal of Student Vote is to create life-long voters who are ready, willing and able to participate in their democracy.

Schools can sign up now at www.studentvote.ca or by calling our team toll-free at 1-866-488-8775.

This blog was originally posted on the Canada’s Democracy Week website.

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Democracy Bootcamp BC 2015

February 26th, 2015 by Dan Allan

More than 125 educators from across British Columbia are set to gather in Vancouver today and tomorrow for Democracy Bootcamp.

Hosted by CIVIX at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Democracy Bootcamp BC 2015 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 and interest, and instructional capacity of classroom teachers, and enhance their delivery of the Student Vote program.

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Democracy Bootcamp BC is made possible with support from Elections Canada, Elections BC, the Vancouver FoundationVancity and the Simon Fraser University Centre for Dialogue.

The schedule for the two-day event includes a federal politics panels hosted by Gary Mason, a pundits panel featuring Stockwell Day, Marcella Munro, Althia Raj and Scott Reid, a look inside election campaigns with Brian Topp and Jaime Watt, and discussions on social media and technology hosted by Twitter’s Steve Ladurantaye and Vox Pop Labs’ Clifton van der Linden

CIVIX has organized Student Vote projects in British Columbia during the last four federal and three provincial elections, as well as the recent local elections. During the last provincial election, more than 100,000 Student Vote ballots were cast from over 700 schools.

An Ontario Democracy Bootcamp is currently scheduled for April in Toronto, and Bootcamps in Quebec and Alberta are being planned for later this year.

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

Follow us at @CIVIX_Canada and @studentvote to keep tabs on Democracy Bootcamp BC 2015. Please contact hello@civix.ca for more information.

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Canada’s Democracy Week 2014 – “Democracy: Own It.”

September 15th, 2014 by Dan Allan

Canada’s Democracy Week is here, and we’re excited to take part once again.

Canada’s Democracy Week is organized by Elections Canada and aims to connect Canadians with activities that celebrate our democratic values and traditions.

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The fourth annual Canada’s Democracy Week runs from September 15th to 21st and will encourage Canadians, particularly youth, to learn more about the importance of democracy and voting, and to become more involved in the democratic process.

This year’s theme is “Democracy: Own it.” Youth are encouraged to learn about how they can participate in the electoral process and how to get informed.

We launched the 2014-15 Rep Day program last week as part Canada’s Democracy Week. Rep Day connects schools with their local Member of Parliament for a dialogue about 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. We’ll have more details to share throughout Canada’s Democracy Week and the weeks ahead.

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Additionally, CIVIX President Taylor Gunn will take part in a discussion on civic education titled “The ABCs of Teaching Democracy” at the University of Ottawa on September 16th. All are welcome to attend.

Youth aged 14 to 17 are also encouraged to get involved by participating in the National Democracy Challenge by submitting an image, a video or writing to win prizes. There is also a school prize and the Canadian school with the most submissions can win a Forum for Young Canadians student bursary. Student Vote Team Leader Sam Livingstone won for her blog post in 2012.

Visit the Canada’s Democracy Week website for more information, including a full list of events.

 

You can also read our Canada’s Democracy Week blogs from past years:

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Nunavut Day

July 9th, 2014 by Abhi Saini

Today is Nunavut Day, and 2014 marks the 15th anniversary of Nunavut!

Nunavut came into existence in 1999 after a referendum was held in 1982 to decide the division of the Northwest Territories and create a new territory for Canada’s Inuit people.

The referendum passed and on July 9th, 1993, the federal government passed the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and the Nunavut Act. The Act was fully enforced on April 1st, 1999.

Nunavut Day was officially declared a public holiday in 2001. Initially, April 1st was decided to be Nunavut Day; however, the day was changed to July 9th to reflect the date the legislation that created the territory was passed.

The day is celebrated by hundreds of people across the territory who attend community feast and participate in traditional Inuit activities such as “throat singing, square dancing, fiddle music, games and traditional competitions.”

This year, premiers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and the Northwest Territories will join Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna in attending the Western Premier’s Conference in Iqaluit and will be present during the Nunavut Day celebrations.

This year’s celebration also includes a cake decoration contest! This year’s theme is “Nunavut at 15.”

Are you planning on celebrating Nunavut Day? Let us know how!

 

You can also read our blog on how government works in Nunavut.

We have also blogged about the history behind other Canadian holidays:

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Canada History Week

July 3rd, 2014 by Abhi Saini

This week is Canada History Week! Held each year from July 1-7, the week celebrates Canada’s history and the important events that shaped our country.

Canada History week was officially launched on June 11, 2013 by the Department of Canadian Heritage. The week was established to provide Canadians with an opportunity to participate and learn about Canadian history through history related activities and events.

 Here are few things you can do to learn about Canadian history during Canada History Week:

As Canada approaches its 150th birthday in 2017, Canada History Week provides a great opportunity for all Canadians to learn about their past and their identity.

Visit the Canadian Heritage website for more information and follow them on Twitter at @CdnHeritage for more #HistoryWeek updates.

You can also explore Student Vote history by looking back at 10 years of election results. Our Student Budget Consultation program was also supported by Canadian Heritage, and you take take a look back at past SBC results here.

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