Students’ union trying to get young people to vote
Get out and vote. That’s the message the University of Regina Student’s Union (URSU) is sharing with its members leading up to election day. Only 38.8 per cent of Canadians aged 18-24 voted in 2011, and the URSU wants to see that number rise.
“We really wanted to address the issue that voting is important and making it a little more fun of an experience for students to go out and vote,” said the URSU Vice President of Student Affairs Jason Gagnon.
The URSU has several events planned including events at The Owl, information sessions, and pancake breakfasts with the candidates.
There’s no single answer to how voting can be made more appealing to young people but the candidates in Regina-Wascana, where the U of R is located, have their ideas.
“I think we have to connect with young people in terms of what their issues are. There’s really high unemployment among young people,” said NDP candidate April Bourgeois.
“I think all persons need to understand, regardless of their age, that the laws of the land do affect them and they should get out and vote on election day,” said Michael Kram, the Regina-Wascana Conservative candidate.
Liberal incumbent Ralph Goodale said he believes that young people are disenfranchised with how the political system works.
“It hasn’t seemed to be very productive or very savoury or very conducive to what they would like to accomplish.”
This will be the first election most people in this age bracket can participate in and Green Party candidate Frances Simonson said she has met intimidated young people on the campaign trail.
“I certainly get lots of ‘uh I’m not too sure, and I don’t really know anything about it so I don’t want to make some kind of mistake’.”
As for people actually in the 18 to 24 age bracket, Gagnon said many feel like it’s a vicious cycle.
“They don’t vote because they feel like it’s ineffective to vote for somebody who doesn’t really change anything, or at least that’s what the perception is,” said Gagnon. “Then you get on the politicians side and they don’t cater to young people because young people don’t vote.”
A full slate of events in the URSU’s “Get Out and Vote” campaign can be found on their Facebook page.