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

Saanich Peninsula steps into post-pandemic phase

Pending partial re-opening of local schools signals new start

Craft vendors allowed to re-join Goldstream Farmers Market

Dr. Bonnie Henry lightens restrictions, approves non-food items to be sold

Three people sent to hospital following serious crash in View Royal

Incident involved a motorcycle and one vehicle on Sunday afternoon

Saanich high school student wins free educational trip through Europe

Beaverbrook Vimy Prize centers on First, Second World War history

Province recognizes three Greater Victoria residents for work to combat racism

The three residents were recognized during the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read