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

Morning Start: Before Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin

Your morning start for Thursday, June 4, 2020

Kelowna BC SPCA busy throughout pandemic

Branch manager Sean Hogan said they have a good problem right now

Oyama Zipline Adventure Park opening for the season

The Lake Country zipline is scheduled to open on June 12

No criminality in the 2019 death of woman found on Kelowna beach

Caitlin was found deceased on Gyro Beach on April 21, 2019

$220K for Okanagan Rail Trail loo

Successful proposal for Westkal Road comes ‘well within project budget’

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Limited summer camps fill up fast in North Okanagan

Some options for kids opened up by Greater Vernon Recreation Services

COLUMN: Efforts preserve and promote local agriculture

Farming will remain an important element in the region

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

Police watchdog investigating fatal crash in Kelowna

Kelowna RCMP received a report of a single-vehicle collision on Bulman Road near Highway 97 on June 1

Kelowna council greenlights ‘The Wedge’

The wedge-shaped building will be built at the corner of Leon Avenue and Water Street

Most Read