By Fabian Mayer, October 13 2015 —
The federal election is just around the corner and the University of Calgary Students’ Union is making its final push to encourage students to vote on Oct. 19.
The SU hopes to sign up 10,000 students with their Get Out The Vote campaign. Those students will then receive a reminder to vote on election day.
According to SU vice-president external Romy Garrido, they’ve already signed up around 8,000 students.
“Right now we’re completely focused on classroom visits. We’ve booked well over 50 of them with professors,” Garrido said.
During the 2011 federal election, only 38.8 per cent of eligible voters aged 18–24 cast a ballot compared to a turnout of 61.1 per cent for the general population.
Garrido said the GOTV campaign is trying to convince students their vote matters.
“There’s two million of us and that’s more than enough to sway an election,” Garrido said. “We have enough power to actually decide who wins.”
Garrido said she is seeing more parties come out with student-focused polices, but still isn’t satisfied with the amount of attention student issues are getting.
“We have heard from a couple parties, [students] are coming up in their platforms,” Garrido said. “Is it enough? I’m always going to say no.”
She mentioned a recent Liberal announcement to replace student tax credits with more grants. Both the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations and Garrido have advocated for more federal student grants, but she remains cautious.
“What matters is that once they’re elected, they see those through. I’ll be impressed when it happens,” Garrido said.
The economy has been a central campaign issue for many Canadians. Third-year computer science student Jeremy Kaiser said it was the most important issue to him.
“I have tons of friends who lost their jobs because of the economy,” Kaiser said. “It’s a priority for me because I’m going to get out of school soon and I want a job there for me when I get there.”
Kaiser said he plans on voting but is still deciding between two parties.
“I’m swamped here at school so I haven’t been able to pay attention, I think most people are feeling that way,” Kaiser said.
Second-year engineering student Avnett Gill shares Kaiser’s concerns about the economy.
“It really worries me since in a couple years I’ll going to be out in the job world,” Gill said.
Gill has made up her mind and is determined to cast a ballot.
“Every vote counts. It would be stupid not to. If you want to see a change you kind of have to put your foot forward,” Gill said.