The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) has launched a campaign aimed at getting more students to polls in the upcoming municipal election.
The Students Vote campaign will be launching a website in early October which is hoping to be a “one-stop shop” for students looking to inform themselves about the election, explained CFS-Manitoba chairperson Alanna Makinson at press conference at the University of Winnipeg last Wednesday.
The website will include information on which ward students fall under and where to vote come election day, as well as information on municipal election issues.
The campaign will also be collecting pledges from students to vote.
“Students not only face issues of being able to access post-secondary education [ . . . ]. We’re really looking at all the ways students are affected by say things like public transportation, affordable housing. [ . . . ] All those issues really affect students lives in a dramatic way and they’re an important part of students lives,” said Makinson.
Makinson went on to explain that the campaign is partly in response to typically low-voter turn out amongst students in federal, provincial and municipal elections.
However, she said she’s seen a lot of excitement from students about this fall’s election.
“Students are really looking to the future in order to change those statistics and really be a strong political voice in the upcoming municipal election,” said Makinson.
University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) president Heather Laube said the most common issue UMSU has been asked by students about the election is public transit, particularly ensuring that there is a improved service to the Fort Garry and Bannatyne campuses.
Students have also expressed concern over the increasing cost to take the bus each year.
“There’s always that student asking where is that extra money going; every year we have our bus fares increase,” said Laube.
“We would like to know and we would like to see those services increase and our campuses made a priority.”
University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) vice-president (advocate), Katie Haig-Anderson, explained that crime prevention and the revitalization of Winnipeg’s downtown area are key issue for U of W students, considering their campus is located in the heart of downtown.
“I think that students generally just want to see more done to make this area safer and more inviting,” said Haig-Anderson.
She said that there are a lot of students who are excited to get out and vote, but that it was important to spread awareness about the importance of voting in the election.
“I don’t think that students are apathetic. I think sometimes they just don’t know how to make their voice heard or don’t think that they will have an impact,” said Haig-Anderson.
UMSU is currently working on organizing a forum with city council and mayoral candidates at the university, although no date has been set for the event yet.
An advanced poll will be available for students at the U of M on Oct. 12 and 13 at stations located near the U of M bookstore.