By Mark Squibb | Vol 7 No. 20 (Oct. 24, 2019)
Monday night, Oct. 22, as you know, Canadians voted in the forty-third Canadian election.
Trudeau will be returning as Prime Minster, with his Liberals holding 157 seats— a loss of 27 seats from 2015, but still enough to form a minority government.
The Conservatives under Andrew Scheer earned 121 seats, an increase of 22 seats from 2015, but did manage to win the popular vote, winning 34.4 per cent of Canadians’ vote against the Liberals 33.1 per cent (which will likely stir debate about Canada’s electoral system, and who the Canadians truly want to lead the country).
Despite a positive leadership debate and popular social media presence, Jagmeet Singh’s NDP only earned 24 seats, a loss of 20 from 2015.
The Greens and Bloc Québécois are up seats, two and 22 respectively.
Meanwhile, Maxime Bernier’s far right politics didn’t seem to settle well with Canadians— not even the leader could win a seat in his riding in Beauce, Quebec.
And that’s how Canadians voted.
But what if the vote was in younger hands— specifically, middle school or high school hands? What would a Parliament voted in by students not quite old enough to vote yet look like?
Student Vote Canada 2019, is coordination with CIVIX and Elections Canada, offered students the chance to cast their votes in mock elections.
Several schools in Mount Pearl participated in the mock elections, and the ballots cast by students in, are a little bit different from those cast by parents and older siblings.
At O’ Donel High, Liberals were the favourite, earning 32.9 per cent of the vote, trailed, not by the Conservatives, but by the NDP at 31 per cent. Conservatives only earned 19 per cent of the vote, while the Greens earned 14.1 percent.
Over at Mount Pearl intermediate, students voted a little more like the rest of Canada, favoring the Conservatives to the NDP, but only by the narrowest of margins.
Some 31.9 per cent of valid ballots were for the Liberals, followed by the Conservatives at 18.6 per cent. The NDP trailed a mere two votes behind the Conservatives— 86 vote to 88— to make up 18.2 per cent, while the Greens earned 14.6 per cent.
The People’s Party of Canada and Christian Heritage Party earned 8.9 percent and 7.6 percent respectively.
Kathryn MacPherson is a Social Studies teacher at Mount Pearl Intermediate and helped bring the mock election to the school.
She said that perhaps her biggest takeaway was how close some of the percentages where; both at her school, across the province, across the nation, and, in the real election, support for the Liberals hovered about 30 to 33 percent.
“There has to be some importance to the mock election for sure. We all share the same thoughts and same ideas,” she noted.
When asked why she thought students seem to favor the NDP more than the adult voters, MacPherson had a few ideas.
“I don’t think there’s one exact reason. I think there’s a couple,” she explained, adding that the NDP spoke to issues that youth are concerned with. Notably, climate change.
For students, MacPherson said that the event was an exciting, teachable moment for students.
“Instead of just studying about democracy, we’re studying it first hand, with real issues in real time,” she said.
“A couple of the comments that were made was that it was exciting, that it was something new. They really enjoyed the fact that they had a voice,” she said.
Across the province, it was a tight race, not between the Liberals and Conservatives, but between Liberals and NDP.
Students across the province favored the Liberals at 32.9 per cent— just beating out the NDP at 31 per cent. Conservatives trailed at 19 per cent, and the Greens rounded out at 14.1 per cent.
The National Summary looks quite similar; a Canada voted by students would see the Liberals hold 110 seats, the NDP hold 99, the Conservatives hold 94, Greens hold 28, and Bloc Québécois hold nine.
This would mean a Liberal minority and NDP opposition, versus the reality of a Liberal minority and Conservative opposition.
So, it seems that Jagmeet Singh did have a strong voter base— they were just too young to vote.