Tanysha Klassen, back left, chairperson of the B.C. Federation of Students, and Anouk Borris, chairperson of the Vancouver Island University Students’ Union, provide information at VIU’s Nanaimo campus last Tuesday. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

B.C. students empowered to ‘shift the vote’ this election

B.C. Federation of Students launches ‘Our Time is Now’ campaign

More than ever before, Canada’s political parties need to be able to speak to the millennial generation.

The B.C. Federation of Students launched its ‘Our Time is Now’ campaign last week on Vancouver Island in an effort to get students registered and engaged in the lead-up to the Oct. 21 federal election.

According to a report by the BCFS, the 2019 election marks “the first time in 40 years that Canadians under 35 will form the largest age cohort,” with millennials representing 37 per cent of the electorate.

“Which is historic,” said Tanysha Klassen, chairperson of the B.C. Federation of Students. “That’s a huge number of young people that are going to really be able to shift the vote.”

In the 2015 federal election, voter turnout among Canadians aged 18-24 spiked to 57.1 per cent, from 38.8 per cent in 2011 and even lower than that in 2008. Klassen said people who vote for a first time are more likely to vote a second time, and so on, “so it turns into a lifelong pattern.”

She said it’s exciting when she’s approached by students who have just turned 18 and want to know the process for registering and finding out information about the parties and candidates.

RELATED: Student groups launch nationwide get-out-the-vote push ahead of federal campaign

“It’s like a privilege you gain when you become that age and suddenly you can help make decisions,” said Anouk Borris, chairperson of the Vancouver Island University Students’ Union.

VIUSU launched its get-out-the-vote efforts last Tuesday in Nanaimo as a part of a club information event at the university’s cafeteria, and campus young Greens and young Conservatives attended.

Klassen said young people basically care about the “exact same issues” as other voter groups, with affordability and climate high on the list.

“We don’t have niche issues but we’re also not a homogeneous group,” she said. “Everybody has these similar issues, like the rest of the population does, but the ways that young people want to go about handling those issues varies greatly.”

The BCFS report notes that there are “real struggles” facing millennials including affordability, climate change, human rights and limited access to stable economic opportunities.

“Millennials will be galvanized to seek solutions,” the report notes, including at the ballot box.

The report also comments that “negative tropes about youth apathy perpetuated by the media and by pundits are a form of voter suppression” by suggesting to young people that their vote won’t matter because not enough of their peers are voting. The ‘Our Time is Now’ campaign, said Klassen, is meant to empower young people this election.

“We know that we get out and vote and that we’re activists and that we’re engaged,” she said. “There’s just always been a negative narrative through media and older generations saying the young people don’t vote, which we all know is wrong, but we need to make sure we get out there and prove that to people.”

For more information about the campaign, visit www.ourtimeisnow.ca.

RELATED: Elections Canada scraps social media ‘influencers’ to encourage youth vote



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Ucluelet Aquarium wraps up season with release day event

Residents help release charismatic critters on Dec. 7.

Tofino shops set to sparkle during weekend’s Jingle Into Christmas celebration

“It’s like a family reunion. It’s nice to see the locals’ faces.”

Child care sector feels the squeeze in Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District

There are five children for every licensed child care space in the ACRD

Surfrider Pacific Rim hopes unique wetsuit recycling program stays local to the Coast

“We really want to see someone locally or regionally take this on and use this material locally.”

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were women

Most Read