CHS students to hold mock election

by Phil Ambroziak

Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders.

That’s a message Carpenter High School in Meadow Lake has always instilled in its students, but one that holds even greater meaning this year with the 42nd Canadian general election on the horizon.

“Essentially, I would be teaching this to my history students even if it wasn’t an election year because that’s how important it is,” remarked CHS teacher Dion Petz. “I always take time to teach about the political spectrum and what each political party stands for, but with the election coming up we’re now able to take advantage of a program called Student Vote.”

Student Vote is a parallel, mock election for students under the voting age, coinciding with federal, provincial, territorial and municipal elections. The purpose is to provide young Canadians with an opportunity to experience the voting process firsthand and build the habits of informed and engaged citizenship.

“They’ve delivered to me enough ballots from our actual riding (Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River) with the names of all five candidates,” Petz continued. “My Grade 12s are helping to organize things – it’s a way for them to also learn about all the work that goes into an election – and we’ll probably hold our vote a day or so before the actual election. Every student in the school will have an opportunity to vote.”

According to Elections Canada, fewer than 39 per cent of eligible voters aged 18 to 24 cast ballots during the 2011 election. Meanwhile, a recent report conducted by professors Antoine Bilodeau and Luc Turgeon of Concordia University and the University of Ottawa respectively, indicates younger Canadians are less likely to feel close to a political party. The report also states a larger proportion of younger Canadians than older ones appear to perceive politics as too complicated.

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