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Montreal students too young to participate in Quebec election prepare for mock vote

Click to play video: 'Students at Montreal’s Margaret Manson Elementary School stage mock elections'
Students at Montreal’s Margaret Manson Elementary School stage mock elections
Undecided voters at one elementary school in Montreal's West Island are running out of time. Students are preparing to cast their ballots on Friday for the party they would want to see lead the province. While their votes won't officially count, the lesson in democracy prepares them for the future. Global's Olivia O'Malley reports – Sep 29, 2022

Undecided voters at one Margaret Manson Elementary School in Kirkland, Que., are running out of time. Students will cast their ballots Friday for the party they want to lead the province, in a mock election.

While their votes won’t officially count, their teachers say the lesson on democracy prepares the Grade 4, 5 and 6 students for the future.

“It’s important for them to see that they are able to have that power when they’re older, to be able to vote for someone that’s going to represent their ideas (in) government,” said Grade 5 teacher Nancy Mercier.

Read more: Quebec election: Minister could remain in cabinet despite comments about immigrants

On Thursday groups represented each major political party. Students presented the parties’ leaders, slogans and promises.

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Click to play video: 'Decision Quebec 2022'
Decision Quebec 2022

“It was really important for us to bring reality into the classroom,” said Grade 5 teacher Jennifer Borenstein.

Students started the project with little knowledge of Quebec politics. So it was a major shock when children learned some parties want to separate from Canada.

“I feel like if we separate us from Ontario and all those other (provinces) … it wouldn’t be a very smart choice,” said Grade 5 student Nicholas Yotis.

“I don’t really like separatists because I find it’s going to cause a lot of major problems for Quebec,” said 11-year-old James Holly.

Read more: Quebec election: What are the five main parties promising ahead of Oct. 3 vote?

Most students were still undecided, though, even after the presentations wrapped up.

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“Maybe Liberals, but I don’t know,”  said Grade 6 student Calleya Balayan.

“I think I’m going to maybe vote (for) the Liberals, ’cause they have my interests in mind,” said Grade 5 student Jacob D’Antoni.

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While the students’ votes won’t factor into the provincial tally, Margaret Manson principal Susan Lariviere says it’s an important exercise to try and increase the statistically low youth voter turnout.

“I’m hoping that when they do turn 18, they will be so excited about voting that they will do the appropriate research and that will have, you know, better results as far as how many people are voting,” she said.

On Friday, students will vote for the first time ever using real ballots and boxes provided by Elections Quebec. The results of the mock election won’t be announced until the day after all Quebecers cast their ballot, for real.

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