New Democrats are inviting students and teachers to voice their concerns about the Harper government's move to end programs that encourage young people to vote. The Conservatives’ Unfair Elections Act, C-23, prohibits Elections Canada from supporting youth outreach and education initiatives like Student Vote—a non-partisan school program that encourages young people to participate in the electoral system.
“I’m astonished that the Conservatives are targeting Elections Canada’s work in schools and with youth groups like Scouts Canada,” said NDP MP Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay). “Programs like Student Vote have been an enormously successful tool for youth engagement. When I talk to teachers about this program, they believe in it and they want it saved.”
In the last election, more than 500,000 Canadian students learned about the voting system and were encouraged to participate in school elections thanks to the advocacy work of Elections Canada.
“Teachers in my own region of Timmins-James Bay are pushing back against this attack on Student Vote and other educational initiatives of Elections Canada” said Angus. "Canadians of all political stripes should support initiatives that educate and engage youth in our democracy. It’s time for us to stand up and tell Pierre Poilievre, the Minister for Democratic Reform, to stand down."
"We are encouraging teachers and students to write their thoughts in letters and e-mails to the minister," said NDP youth critic Matt Dubé (Chambly—Borduas). "If the Harper government thinks these programs aren’t important to young people, they may be in for a big surprise."
To support the campaign, a Facebook site has been launched here: