Election season has come to an end. In the last year, we have gone to the polls and elected new (the same) municipal, provincial and federal governments. By and large, Calgarians, Albertans and Canadians have opted for the status quo.
Reflecting on the events of the last twelve months, I take satisfaction in knowing that the pundits were wrong, and students are not apathetic.
It has recently come to light that students are disenfranchised by the current electoral machinery. However, thousands still turned out to vote in the provincial and federal elections. One need only look at the record turnout at the advance-poll on campus for the municipal election to envision a future model that will empower more students to cast their ballots. Over the next year the SU will work to implement reforms so the next round of elections is more accessible to students.
I would also like to thank the hundreds of students that turned out to the recent election results parties. Not only did you all have a lot of fun (I hope) but you also demonstrated that students are both politically engaged and conscious of the impact voting and elections have on society. The power and influence of the 'student voice' is only leveraged and amplified when students show they are informed and personally interested.
I would be doing a disservice if I did not emphasize civic responsibility does not end when you drop your ballot in the box. Though , for the most part, the same governments are in power now as before the election does not, I repeat NOT, mean that our work is done until the next election.
Those who might have interests contrary to those of students (say textbook publishers) count on the inactivity of students between election cycles to get policy favorable to their interests on the books. It is essential that students, above and beyond the efforts of the SU, continue to communicate to their elected officials their concerns and visions for and about tomorrow.
To facilitate your civic engagement, the following is a list of elected officials you should contact the next time something ticks you off:
City of Calgary:
-Mayor: Dave Bronconier
-Ward 1 Alderman: Dale Hodges
Province of Alberta:
-Premier: Ed Stelmach
-Minister of Advanced Education: Doug Horner
-Minister of Housing: Yvonne Fritz
-Calgary-Varsity MLA: Harry Chase
Government of Canada:
-Prime Minister: Stephen Harper
-Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development: Diane Finley
-Calgary-West MP: Rob Anders
P.S. For all of you election junkies that just can't get enough consider running in the SU election in February. And whether or not you run, make sure you cast you ballot!