Minority government ‘elected’ by future voters

The future voters of Canada nearly called it. Closely mirroring the results of Monday’s federal election, students under the voting age handed the Conservatives a minority government, and chose the New Democratic Party as the official Opposition in a mock federal election.

The future voters of Canada nearly called it.

Closely mirroring the results of Monday’s federal election, students under the voting age handed the Conservatives a minority government, and chose the New Democratic Party as the official Opposition in a mock federal election.

The Conservatives won 128 seats while the NDP captured 113 seats in the mock vote, compared to the official federal election results where the Tories received 167 seats and the NDP snagged 102 seats.

For two days last week, 512,175 votes were cast from 3,416 schools across Canada representing 299 electoral districts as part of Student Vote’s fourth federal parallel election project.

Student Vote is a non-profit organization that works with teachers and schools to inspire future voters by bringing democracy to the classroom.

Steven Goetz, Student Vote social media manager, said they want to address the low voter turnout trends in Canada.

By working with teachers, they hope to build interest in the democratic process and get students in the habit of being engaged during elections with the national debate.

“We had more schools reporting results than ever before,” said Goetz.

“We reached virtually across the country (with) 299 of 308 ridings represented with schools reporting.

“This is the biggest project we have ever conducted.”

More than 3,000 students voted from 24 returning schools in Central Alberta.

In the mock vote, Red Deer Tory incumbent Earl Dreeshen was re-elected with 1,474 votes (48. 2 per cent) and Green candidate Mason Connor Sisson came in second with 598 votes (or 19.5 per cent); NDP candidate Stuart Somerville placed third with 549 votes (17.9 per cent) and Liberal candidate Andrew Lineker came in last with 438 votes (14.3 per cent).

The project was open for the 36 days during the campaign for elementary and secondary schools across the country.

Goetz said they generally recommend the project starting in Grade 5, when the curriculum typically begins to look at government.

The registered schools received materials needed to conduct a mock election, including curriculum resources, campaign posters, ballot boxes, voting screens and ballots.

“We want this to become something that when you turn 18, you have already been engaged in a number of elections,” said Goetz.

“Hopefully starting from when you are in Grade 5 so you are ready to be an active citizen and also an informed voter.”

Ontario had the highest number of schools registered with 1,773, compared to Alberta with 712 schools registered.

Goetz said the low voter turnout in Alberta in 2008 may have spurred the teachers to take this on as a project to make sure those numbers improve.

Student Vote results have predicted the winner of the last three federal elections.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com