Local youth will be taking part in a student vote Oct. 13 at Westbrook School in Cochrane, casting their ballot for who they believe should be Banff-Airdrie’s Member of Parliament.
“I think they are reacting very positively – many of (the students) are becoming quite informed non-voters and starting to make informed decisions,” said Lucie Salucop, assistant principal at Westbrook School.
Grades 5 to 8 students at Westbrook have spent the last few weeks learning about the upcoming federal election, focusing on election issues, candidates, the election process and political parties.
“It’s been quite interesting to see where their beliefs and values align with different parties and what the party platforms are,” Salucop said.
Salucop, who also teaches grades 7 to 8, said she has noticed students in her class are passionate about lowering the voter age, environmental issues, looking for a party that will protect and support the environment, as well as protecting and supporting the oil and gas and agricultural industries – as many students have families that work in both.
“From the comments I’ve heard from my students, many are talking with their families on who they are going to vote for and asking if they are going to vote,” Salucop said. “Some wish they could vote now.”
The student vote was initiated in 2003 by CIVIX in partnership with Elections Canada to provide youth in Canada an opportunity to experience the voting process and to encourage young Canadians to build habits of informed and engaged citizenship. The program currently has 26 student vote programs across Canada, and during the last federal election, 563,000 students voted from 3,750 schools. The national student vote will be taking place across the country from Oct. 13 to 16.