With less than one month before Canadians go to the polls, some University of Regina students say they’re starting to pay attention to politics.
“This is the first year that I’ve been able to vote, so I want to make sure that I know what I’m voting for and who I’m voting for, so it’s important that I learn what everyone’s about,” said Billie Anderson.
Lynn Reavie admits it’s hard to keep up with the political parties while balancing her life as a student and parent.
“Not at all, no. I have a son, so on our TV, it’s usually cartoons,” she admitted.
In the longest election campaign in Canadian history, there is still plenty of time to study party platforms before going to the polls. Reavie says she still plans to cast a ballot on Oct. 19.
“I am. I think I’ll probably end up doing more research as it gets closer to the date,” Reavie said.
For her, the biggest issue in this election campaign is benefits for parents and possibly more support for childcare.
Alex Klatt says the refugee and immigration crisis is the most-important election issue to her.
“I think Canada should be letting more people in,” she said. “I think a lot of people are against it just because they don’t know the situation well enough and they think that ‘oh they should figure it out for themselves’ and I disagree with that, I think we should help them out as much as we can.”
James Hill says he has only been paying attention on and off so far watching news clips of party leaders. So far none of the messages or issues are standing out to him as a young voter.
“Not actually that much, just a lot of kind of flashy battles between the party leaders,” Hill said.
He says many students are very ill-informed about the issues that party leaders are focusing on.
Anderson is also unimpressed by the constant stream of negative advertising.
“I’ve paid attention earlier years but I’ve noticed that this year people are focusing a lot more on other campaigns than what they’re campaigning about,” she commented. “In their ads and stuff, I haven’t really noticed them pitching anything they are going to help with. They’ve just been kind of bashing other parties.”
Pete, who chose not to share his last name, said he is paying much closer attention to the election this year because he is First Nations. He thinks a lot of other First Nations people are already paying close attention.
“I think they’re already engaged, they’re pretty out there, but we’ll see once they hit the polls,” he said.
Jordan Morton says he is also planning to vote this year.
“I have an opinion and it matters and I can’t really voice that if I don’t know what I’m voicing it to or why, or who is doing what,” he said.
Morton says the issue of protecting treaty rights for First Nations people is particularly important to him.
“As a First Nations person, I would like to see them not trying to remove the rights that they have already in place and then trying to create quote unquote ‘equality’ by just removing the things that we already have,” he said.
The University of Regina Students Union is launching a campaign to encourage students to vote by setting up tables for registration and asking people to pledge to vote.
The U of R will also be part of a pilot project that includes special polling stations where students who have primary addresses in different ridings can vote on campus.