On October 19, 2015, Canada will change forever. Canadians from coast to coast to coast will have the opportunity to make their voices heard, and vote for the politician they want to be the next great leader of this country. Unfortunately, the voting age is eighteen, which means most of us cannot take part in this election of a new leader. But all hope is not lost.
On October 15, 2015, STA will be having its very own vote. Students can vote in the atrium on their lunch break for the local politician they think shall be the best representative for Oakville, either Che Marville from the National Democratic Party, John Oliver from the Liberal Party, Terrence Young from the Conservative Party, or David Doel from the Green Party. But these politicians are part of something much bigger, and much greater than just representing their political parties in Oakville, Ontario. They are part of their own party’s mission to change Canada for the better, and transform the lives of people who live across the country, from Vancouver, British Columbia to St. John’s, Newfoundland.
The student vote project at STA is being organized by grade ten student Henry Mann. On October 9, 2015, he shared his thoughts and feelings about both the federal and student elections. When asked why students should vote in the STA election, he said: “I think it’s a really fun opportunity.” He also mentioned he thinks it is great that youth have an opportunity to vote and learn about how the democratic process works in Canada. During this student election, Mr. Mann said to promote the event, he would be placing information posters around the school, talking in classroom presentations, and overseeing ballot clerks, as well as counting the ballots. But Mr. Mann also had some interesting opinions about the federal election. He mentioned that early on in the campaign, he thought Mr. Harper would be returning to Parliament Hill after this election. But now, he’s not so sure. Mr. Mann thinks the Liberal Party has an equally good chance of winning this election as the Conservatives do.
Stephen Harper, leader the federal Conservative Party, Justin Trudeau, of the federal Liberal Party, Tom Mulcair, of the federal National Democratic Party, and Elizabeth May, of the federal Green Party all intend to win this election, and implement their party’s policies designed to better the lives of Canadians.
The National Democratic Party of Canada promises to build a strong economy by protecting small business that they believe provide jobs and stability. They also promise to improve health care, childcare, and protect the environment by ushering in a new attitude of respect toward Canada’s ecosystems. The Liberal Party of Canada believes it is important to raise taxes on the wealthiest Canadians so that the middle class can pay less. According to a pamphlet given out at a local debate on Tuesday October 6, they also want to invest $1.3 billion over three years to help young Canadians find jobs. They also want to create 5,000 ‘youth green jobs,’ by hiring more young people to care for and promote Canada’s environment.
But the Conservative Party of Canada promises other things that they think shall better the lives of Canadians. According to a Conservative pamphlet give out at the same local debate on October 6, they believe that adding $1,000 to the Child Care Expense Deduction limits, doubling the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit to $1,000, and introducing pension income-splitting shall all help Canadians. And the Green Party of Canada’s major platform is to help save Canada’s environment. According to one of their pamphlets from October 6, they want to invest $1 billion a year in Green Technology Commercialization Grants to “…accelerate emerging technologies, give Canadian entrepreneurs a head start, and create good local jobs.” They also would like Green Members of Parliament to publish their expenses on the Internet, to ensure transparency and honesty. But politics is not only about aging decision-makers in a far away city.
Politically-inclined grade-twelve student Malcolm McIvor has been following the election closely, and admitted on October 2, 2015 that ideally he would want Libertarian candidate David Clement to win in Oakville. But since he knows that is unlikely, he said he would also be happy if Stephen Harper won federally and continued to be the Prime Minister. Polls have predicted that the election would be a close race to office, and Malcolm definitely agrees with them. When asked if he thought it would be a close race, he said: “Absolutely.” He thinks Canada and its economy in particular, shall change gradually if a Liberal, National Democratic, or Green party is elected. And Mr. McIvor also mentioned that if he was old enough to vote in this election, he definitely would. He said that he has not become cynical, and he has not given up on politics as a powerful force to transform the country just yet.
No one can predict the future. It is completely unknown, and the fate of Canada economically, socially, and environmentally becomes increasingly unclear as voting day draws ever closer. As per tradition, each of the federal party leaders have participated in endless debates, spoken to Canadians across the country, and have made many promises. They have tried to do everything in their power to achieve a victory for themselves and their parties, but there is certain point when they can do no more. There is a point when the debates come to a close, and there are no more promises to be made. And this is the time when all Canadians, young and old, rich and poor, must ask themselves who they want representing them at home and on the world stage. It is this answer, this unknown, and blurry, and unreadable answer, that may change the very face of Canada itself.