With a series of student-written questions on hand, student moderators Kaileigh Waugh and Josie Vaughan set the stage for their peers to gain insight into the democratic process.
“We like to stay on top and know what is going on within our community and, eventually, we’ll be able to vote in a year or so,” Vaughan said.
The Island View High School Candidate Forum is part of a nationwide initiative to engage youth in conversations around government and the Canadian electoral system.
“I find this pretty interesting just to see what people our age think of elections and politics,” Waugh said.
Anthony Edmonds of the Green Party of Canada, Darrell Samson of the Liberal Party of Canada and Matt Stickland of the New Democratic Party of Canada participated in the forum.
Kevin Copely of the Tories did not attend the event due to scheduling conflicts, while Sybil Hogg of the People’s Party of Canada was set to take part before cancelling on Wednesday afternoon.
There was a buzz of excitement in the air as the youth considered how the experience may shape their future voting habits.
“I know that we are the holders of our future,” said Bryson Neish, 16.
“We got to have more responsibility in that.”
The forum is the first step in what will lead to a mock election for high school students across the country. Next week, over 9,000 schools will participate in Student Vote Canada 2019.
The program aims to give future voters firsthand experience with the voting process and an opportunity to become as informed as possible about candidates in their riding before casting their ballot.
Student Vote takes place Oct. 15 to 18.