Sacred Heart School of Halifax students stage mock election
Published Saturday, October 17, 2015 1:13PM ADT
All the major candidates in the Halifax riding have visited a local high school over the past several weeks to help them express their political views, despite being too young to vote.
Students and teachers at the Sacred Heart School of Halifax have set up a mock election with mini polling stations, poll clerks, and deputy officers to help them learn the democratic process first-hand.
“It's important to me because it gives me a head start,” said Grade 9 student Samantha Ghosn. “It makes me start thinking about politics more so when I am older I will make the right choice for Canada.”
The mock election is part of a national program inspired by a low youth voter turnout in previous elections.
“This is meant to demystify that voting process, to feel it themselves so that when the time comes they're fully prepared,” said teacher Christina McKay.
The NDP’s Megan Leslie visited the school on Friday. The Liberal’s Andy Fillmore, Conservative’s Irvine Carvery and Thomas Trappenburg of the Green Party have all shared their views at the school.
“We spent a lot of our civics term this year learning about the candidates, so it was kind of cool to hear in their own words what we were learning about,” said Grade 9 student Madison James.
The students say meeting the politicians helped them determine who to vote for.
“It's kind of a feeling of power because it gives us the feeling that people have who are over the age of 18 and able to vote in Canada, and lets us know what it's like to decide our own futures, and the future of our country,” said student Brenna Noble.
Much like the advance polls, the students were not allowed to report results until after the election to protect the democratic process.
“It brings home the message about how important is it, if you're a citizen you need to vote. It's one of your democratic duties,” said McKay.
They wanted the focus to reflect both the process and the politics.
“This morning the question that was posed to our candidate was about the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said McKay. “So I think the students are reaching for even the most complex issues.”
Some decided to share who they voted for. Others wanted to protect that part of the process too.
“It's your own decision about what you think the future should be,” said Noble.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kayla Hounsell.