By Fabian Mayer, August 6 2015 —
Canada’s longest election campaign in over a century got underway this weekend when the Governor General accepted Stephen Harper’s request to dissolve parliament on August 2. The campaign will last 78 days and culminate on October 19 when Canadians head to the polls. The University of Calgary Students’ Union will once again be encouraging students to turn out on voting day.
The SU will run a “Get Out The Vote” campaign similar to the one they ran during the spring provincial election where they contacted around 3,600 students and reminded them to vote.
SU vice-president external Romy Garrido said the SU hopes to contact even more students this election. Their goal is 10,000 pledges from students.
“We’re going to be planning at a bit of a larger scale because it is a federal election and because we have more time,” Garrido said.
Despite two elections in such quick succession, Garrido doesn’t believe students will get tired of the SU’s messaging.
“I think students will be excited again about being able to make their voice heard in the federal election,” Garrido said. “It was pretty evident their voices were heard during the provincial election.”
While the province deals with most issues concerning post-secondary education, Garrido said federal elections still matter to students, citing access to education for aboriginal students, youth employment and student financial aid as examples.
Garrido is hopeful that the parties will include post-secondary policy in their platforms.
“We always hear the buzzword that we are the future of the country,” Garrido said. “If there’s so much emphasis on making sure the future of the country is in good hands, then why not put emphasis on the stakeholders of the future of the country?”
In the 2011 federal election 38.8 per cent of eligible voters aged 18–24 cast a ballot as compared to 61.1 per cent of the general population. Garrido stressed that students are more likely to vote than those not attending post-secondary.
The SU’s $9,358 budget for the campaign is roughly the same as the amount they spent on the provincial election.