The Canadian Federation of Students is dedicated to increasing voter turnout through the Generation Vote campaign
Generation Vote is an active campaign, dedicated to getting people out to vote on a municipal level by asking them about key issues. Run by the Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario (CFS-O), of which the Student Association (SA) at George Brown is a member, is dedicated to fostering democracy among Ontario’s student population.
They routinely engage the government on all three levels, and the public in order to create an education system that is accessible to all. The organization represents more than 300,000 members in Ontario, with over 80 locals consisting of colleges and university student unions.
Their Generation Vote campaign has been active since the end of this past summer, and has asked people about key issues such as: living wages, public transit, expanding city services, affordable housing and better childcare.
The point is to get students engaged in the democratic process, while also informing users on the candidates and locations of polling stations.
“Our goals are twofold: to ensure student issues are front and centre in the minds of candidates and voters and to encourage our members to head to the polls on election day and cast a ballot,” said Alastair Woods, chairperson for the CFS-O. “Obviously we would like to see an increased voter turnout from students and youth, and also see candidates taking our issues seriously on the campaign trail and post election.”
With students being active across the province, Woods says they have been “engaging with their peers,” talking about the importance of municipal elections and why it is important to vote.
At George Brown College (GBC), Michelle Pettis, the community action centre (CAC) co-ordinator says students on the campaigns team at the CAC are taking initiative, hoping to get 500-1,000 GBC students committed to taking the generationvote.ca pledge.
Student unions have held forums and town halls for the election, as well as candidate debates and meet and greets. They have been heading out into the community to discuss our issues such as affordable housing and public transit with voters.
“The campaigns team is planning a series of ‘Municipal Elections 101’ workshops to break down election lingo and explain the voting process and why it matters,” said Pettis.
On top of putting up posters, leafleting, creating displays, and using social media, the campaigns team is also getting together with other Toronto schools for coalition meetings.
Pettis says, “the campaigns team sends GBC representatives to mayoral debates for example, the ProudTOVote LGBTQ issues debate, the great transit debate, accessibility debate, and the ‘We all care about childcare’ panel.”
While the SA and the CFS-O look to turn the tide of voter apathy in our school, it’s up to us to follow through. So check out generationvote.ca and don’t forget to cast your ballot on Oct. 27.