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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BREAKING: Pat Bay Highway blockade underway

About 80 people blocking major highway

Life complicated when water not secure

Water issues have real-life impacts in Sooke Region

Work begins on Otter Point Road project in Sooke

The project now has a fall completion date following a long delay

Central Saanich Police prepared for afternoon shut-down of Highway 17

Sgt. Paul Brailey questions efficacy of protest

City of Langford rebrands, announces several projects

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

WATCH: Sooke’s top stories

A round-up of this week’s top stories

Donations pour in for family who lost father, son in fatal crash on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Vancouver Island RCMP officer assaulted during traffic stop

On Feb. 21, a member of the Comox Valley RCMP was assaulted… Continue reading

B.C. man who pulled a gun on off-duty cop gets two years in prison

Encounter also led police to a home where 100 guns and explosives were found

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

COLUMN: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

Our reactions to a forestry downturn reflect the past, not the present

Caught on camera: Police release video of man who allegedly stole seaplane in Vancouver

Police say the man broke into the Harbour Air terminal and then got into one of the seaplanes in the harbour

51 health professionals send letter to Trudeau, Horgan panning northern B.C. pipeline

They point to studies about the health and climate change risks from pipeline

Most Read