Student Voting – Gaining Attention For Student Issues

A few weeks ago I wrote an article describing some of the moral reasons that students should vote.  The article was published right before a Federal Election was called here in Canada.  Talk about timing!  While I certainly believe that moral and ethical reasons should be more than enough to get young people across Canada to vote I recognize that not everyone feels as strongly about democratic principles as I do.

So I decided that I would borrow a page out of my boy Rick Mercer’s book, and appeal to the more self-interested side of students.

All of you student union leaders please listen up.  I have talked to enough administrative and political types to say with a fair degree of certainty that voting results speak much louder than any of the protests we as students put so much effort into.  Maybe the wisdom of the Trailer Park Boy’s own Jim Lahey might shed some light on the situation.

He makes some great drunken points there (plus who wouldn’t want to see Lahey do a Jagerbomb?) including the whole deal on tuition (Related: What Does Tuition Include?).  Personally, I think students do have a responsibility to pay some of the costs for their education.  Just how much the government should subsidize our education is the real argument for me.  Regardless of where you stand on the debate, the facts are that politicians in general rarely address tuition rates directly (Related: Rising Tuition Fees: The Next Bubble?), or use valuable camera time to talk about student issues at all.  This is solely because at the end of the day young Canadians have atrocious voting rates.  No matter how many marches to legislative buildings there are, the cold reality of the voting booth is all that really matters.  If you really want to see some change and want to give young people a seat at the political table of this country, the only way to do that is to get the voter rates up.

Student Voting Can Get The Politicians Attention

It’s a simple equation for politicians out there.  Appeal to people that actually exercise their democratic right, and you get another term.  This is why unions, special interest groups, and senior citizens consistently get legislation passed that appeals directly to them.  The politically engaged reap the benefits simply because the old cliche, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease,” is definitely true. (Related: Why Students Should Vote)

One cool aspect of this election has been Rick Mercer’s appeal to students to get out and vote, and their subsequent response.  You can check out the videos below to see how the University of the University of Guelph started a new-evolution in the application of technology to politics with something called a voting mob.  Yelling out a message of, “Surprise, We’re Voting,” the students set off a chain reaction that has seen numerous voting mobs across the country (that are posted on Youtube) and a large amount of media attention.

Rick Mercer Supports Student Voting

Reaction across the political spectrum has been varied, but I personally agree with the Mercer interview (see below) that this is refreshing.  The idea that students are re-defining democracy for our generation is a positive thing!  If we all engage this much our message will impossible to ignore, and student concerns will be addressed by every party.  This has nothing to do with poisonous partisan politics, but instead with the very bedrock of what democracy is built on.  It is one of the few recent political developments that gives me hope for the future.  I disagree with  many of my fellow students on many things, but one thing we should all agree on is the importance of getting involved period!

So get out there and vote.  If you want to be creative and have fun while throwing out a shout to Rick Mercer or Jim Lahey all the better!

Rick Mercer: Vote Mobs – Rick Mercer talks about the Vote Mob movement on CTV Question Period and calls on every campus in Canada to join the movement. ”It´s one of the most positive things I´ve ever seen!”

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