Students to show up in large numbers for federal election
By Nathan Woolridge, News Editor
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Sept. 11 to ask Gov. Gen. Julie Payette to dissolve Parliament so that Canada can enter its 43rd election — also declaring the vote to be held on Oct. 21.
With an official election date coming up next month, Canadians will be faced with a short election period covering a variety of issues. In this election, students in particular, will be faced with voting for candidates with their interests at the forefront.
“Youth voter turnout in the 2015 federal election was the highest since turnout estimates began in 2004, jumping to 57.1 per cent from 38.8 per cent in 2011,” according to a Canadian Federation of Students statement.
Through a partnership with Elections Canada, which will see 115 advanced polling stations on campuses across Canada, up from 70 in 2015, the Canadian Federation of Students expects youth voter turnout will be even higher this election, the Federation said in a press release.
“Students and youth will be the biggest voting bloc this election and we are looking for bold solutions to fix our post-secondary education system,” said Sofia Descalzi, national chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “This election, students are looking for candidates who will commit to eliminate tuition fees and student debt for all students, fight climate change, respect Indigenous learners’ right to post-secondary education, and provide fairness to international students.”
Students are worried about issues related to their education and the Canadian Federation of Students said there are other issues that will be important to students, too.
“Students have a lot of concerns when it comes to climate change and the affordability of post-secondary education and they want to see their issues reflected in federal parties’ platforms,” said Descalzi.
Some parties and candidates are already releasing promises to appeal to students. On Sept. 13, Andrew Scheer, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives, announced that as Prime Minister, he would introduce the “Green Public Transit Tax Credit to reduce the cost of public transit and put more money back in the pockets of Canadians,” according to a Conservative Party release.
“For so many Canadians, especially our students, young professionals, young families, and seniors, the cost of public transit can be a significant out-of-pocket expense. The Green Public Transit Tax Credit will provide much-needed relief to transit users and commuters so they can just worry about getting home on time, and not so much about their bottom line,” Sheer said in a statement.
Other similar and competing policies, from the Conservatives and other parties, are likely to be released throughout the election to appeal to student voters.
The Canadian Federation of Students, represents over 500,000 students across the country and recently launched its Time to Be Bold campaign. The goal is to encourage post-secondary students and youth to head to the polls in October and to “vote for candidates who prioritize students’ issues.”
“We hope that the Time To Be Bold campaign, coupled with high youth voter turnout, will push federal parties to seriously address these issues,” said Descalzi.