Federal hopefuls in the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding will set aside their differences Thursday in an effort to reach out to Okanagan College students in Vernon and encourage them to exercise their democratic right and responsibility to vote.
Marking Democracy Week, the event takes place in the Kal View Cafe from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is scheduled to see representatives from the Liberal and Conservative parties (neither has yet determined a candidate to run in the 2015 election) as well as NDP candidate Jacqui Gingras. The Green Party was also invited.
“Research suggest that less than 40 per cent of young Canadians voted in the 2011 federal election,” said Gingras. “As Apathy is Boring suggests, ‘voting – or not voting – is a habit. If we don’t address this issue, in a generation we will have a country where the majority of citizens don’t vote.'”
Eric Reist, general manager of the Okanagan College’s Vernon Students’ Association, welcomes the event.
“The number of youth 18-24 who actually participate int he democratic political process is abysmal,” he said. “As a student association,w e are keen on getting students to engage in discourse about politics, voting and how these are crucial to ensuring we live a democratic society.”
Students will be encouraged to participate in a live poll – texting responses to the question: Are you planning to vote in the next federal election? There will also be opportunities to register with Apathy is Boring, a Canadian organization dedicated to improving voter engagement among young Canadians.