Get ready, get set, elect: The federal election, broken down
Credit: CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF CANADA, LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA, NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF CANADA, GREEN PARTY OF CANADA
(Left to right): Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, and Green Party leader Elizabeth May.
While it can be easy to assume that college students are too busy with their studies and career planning to care about politics, data from elections.ca proves this group is more engaged than ever. The previous 2015 election saw a significant turnout in the youth vote, when voters aged 18 to 24 increased by 18.3 percentage points to 57.1 per cent (from 38.8 per cent in 2011) — the largest increase for the age group since Elections Canada began reporting demographic data on turnout in 2004.
Elections Canada also reported a 12.3 percentage increase in voters aged 25 to 34, along with a slight increase in turnout from those eligible to vote for the first time.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what new voters at Fanshawe should know about the federal election, so that Elections Canada potentially sees an even larger increase in that demographic for 2019.
Who exactly are we voting for?
Canada is a federal Parliamentary democracy within a constitutional monarchy. This means that while the monarch (Queen Elizabeth) is head of state by heredity, Canadians get to elect their head of government — the prime minister (PM). Unlike the United States, the Canadian Senate is not an elected body.
In federal elections, usually held every four years in October, Canadians elect members of Parliament (MPs) within their particular ridings. A riding, or electoral district, is determined by the latest census. In 2019, candidates have been declared for 338 ridings.
Pay attention to the candidates in your riding. Read their platforms and vote according to who represents the issues you care most about. You can find your riding on elections.ca, or through your preferred party’s website. The candidate with the most votes becomes the MP representing your area, with a seat in Canada’s House of Commons. The leader of the party with the most seats becomes prime minister until the next election.
Who are the parties?
There are numerous registered political parties in Canada, but some are more popular than others. Elections.ca currently lists 15, including the Animal Protection Party of Canada, Christian Heritage Party of Canada, and Marijuana Party. However, the four main parties leading in the polls for the 2019 election are the Conservative Party of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada, New Democratic Party (NDP) and Green Party of Canada.
Other parties of note in this year’s polls include the Bloc Québécois and People’s Party Canada, although they are running significantly behind the other four. Here’s a quick overview of the four leading parties:
Conservative Party: Also known as the Tories, and led by Andrew Scheer. As the party that won the most seats in the 2015 after the Liberals, they are currently the Official Opposition in Parliament. According to the party’s website, conservative. ca, the party is “founded on principles of peace and freedom on the world stage responsible management of taxpayers’ money; a welcoming land of refuge for the world’s persecuted and afflicted; the defence of clean Canadian technologies; and a clear understanding of responsibilities between levels of government”.
Liberal Party: Led by Justin Trudeau, and currently the governing party of Canada. The Liberals are also Canada’s longest-serving party. According to their website, 2019.liberal.ca, “Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada have a positive plan to continue investing in our middle class, growing an economy that works for everyone, and protecting a clean environment”.
NDP: Led by Jagmeet Singh, the NDP is a social democratic party that sits left of the Liberals. Their platform, New Deal for New People, is described on ndp.ca as their “view of where our country can go over the next decade and our commitment to the real results”.
Green Party: The Green Party is helmed by Elizabeth May. Once a smaller fringe party when it began in 1983, the Green Party’s popularity has grown steadily over the decades, although it still comes in last in the polls out of the leading four. The website, greenparty.ca, highlights the party’s priorities for “reconciliation for Indigenous Peoples, addressing the climate emergency, invoking ecological wisdom” and “advancing a just society”, among others.
Who are the local candidates?
London is divided into four ridings: London Fanshawe, London North Centre, London West, and Elgin-Middlesex-London. To give students a better sense of some of their options, Interrobang reached out to candidates in the London Fanshawe, London North Centre, London West ridings asking for their own take on why students should vote. Some answers have been edited for spacing and word count.
Conservative Party — Michael van Holst:
“As a former teacher, Michael van Holst understands the importance that students play in their school community, their city, and their country. Michael is running as the Conservative candidate for London-Fanshawe to make life more affordable for students and all Canadians. Students are the next generation of Canadian entrepreneurs, nurses, electricians and leaders. Michael is running to champion the people of London-Fanshawe so that they can get ahead, not just get by.”
Green Party — Tom Cull:
“You should vote in the upcoming federal election because your futures are at stake. We have a very short window to address the climate crisis; the party that is elected to form the next government will make crucial decisions that will profoundly shape your future — everything from your job and economic prospects, to your health and welfare, to the very livability of the planet for you and your children. Make sure you have your say.”
Liberal Party — Mohamed Hammoud:
“Now, more than ever, we need youth to be engaged and vocal in politics, especially at Fanshawe College, a cornerstone in our community. Your voice must be taken into account when choosing who represents you. Be aware, get involved and make an informed choice.”
Other candidates: NDP — Lindsay Mathyssen, People’s Party of Canada — Bela Kosoian.
London North Centre
Conservative Party — Sarah Bokhari:
“As one of the best educational institutions in London, Fanshawe College plays an important role in the local community. Fanshawe College students are largely youth and newcomers to Canada that are looking for jobs that will better their lives and meaningfully impact the economy. Fanshawe College students want to use their democratic right to air their voice on issues of concern to them.”
Green Party — Carol Dyck:
“Fanshawe students should vote because we are at a pivotal point where inaction on climate change could have very grave consequences for the future of our planet. Your vote could send a strong message to the incoming government that young people want to see Canada transition to a sustainable green economy. If the student vote is at a record high, the government will listen.”
NDP — Dirka Prout:
“Students should cast their vote for the NDP this election because we are the only party on the side of everyday Canadians, not wealthy corporations. We know students will benefit from our commitment to real investments in mental health, building affordable housing, and taking real action on climate change.”
Other candidates: Liberal — Peter Fragiskatos, People’s Party of Canada — Salim Mansur, Communist Party — Clara Sorrenti.
Green — Mary Anne Hodge:
“We live in a democracy, and our individual voice is heard during an election. We need to act. The youth represent the dreams of our society, and those dreams cannot be drowned in cynicism.
Check out the platforms. Talk to the candidates. Understand the issues and priorities for the parties. Find out who you agree with and vote. It’s our job and our honour as citizens.”
NDP — Shawna Lewkowitz:
“As a university teacher and the mother of teenage children, students are front of mind during this election and beyond. Students are seeing unprecedented cuts to education, they are graduating with more debt than any other generation and are being saddled with a future of uncertainty due to the climate crisis, precarious employment and general growing unaffordability. As a New Democrat, I am fighting for a more affordable, sustainable and secure future for them.”
Liberal — Kate Young:
“Voting is extremely important because, not only are you exercising your fundamental right as a Canadian citizen, you are expressing your opinion on issues and decisions that impact your life today and into the future. In fact, when you don’t vote, you are letting others determine your future.
From issues like climate change, to infrastructure, to public health and employment, your vote helps decide what course of action your government will take on federal issues and how they will be investing in areas that affect your future. I encourage students who are eligible to vote, to mark their ballot on Monday Oct. 21.”
Other candidates: Conservative — Liz Snelgrove, People’s Party of Canada — Michael T.J. McMullen, Libertarian Party of Canada — Jacques Boudreau.
Candidates: Liberal — Pam Armstrong, Conservative — Karen Vecchio, Green Party — Ben Gibson, NDP — no candidate, People’s Party of Canada — Ken Gilpin, Christian Heritage Party — Peter Redecop, Libertarian Party of Canada — Richard Styve.
How do I vote, and where can I learn more?
All adult Canadian citizens (over 18 years of age) are eligible to vote. Useful tools include elections.ca, newsinteractives.cbc.ca/elections/ federal/2019/party-platforms, as well as the CBC Canada Votes 2019 Poll Tracker, which is updated daily at newsinteractives.cbc.ca/elections/poll-tracker/canada.
The political landscape is far more complex than the overview presented here, so be sure to read up on the party’s platforms and keep yourself informed for Oct. 21.