The CSU is hosting three separate forums to help increase student voter turn out and connect students with different parties
To encourage voting among students ahead of the upcoming provincial elections, the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) is inviting each of BC’s three main parties to take over the Library Members’ Centre for a set of 90-minute forums.
On Thursday Mar. 30, candidates and representatives from the BC Greens came to CapU, followed by the BC NDP on Tuesday Apr. 4 and the BC Liberals on Tuesday Apr. 6. The three forums will take place between 11:30 and 1:00 p.m. The following week, the CSU will throw its last election-related event in the form of an all candidates debate for the North Vancouver-Lonsdale and North Vancouver-Seymour.
BC Green hopefuls who attended their forum on Mar. 30 included North Vancouver-Lonsdale’s Richard Warrington, North Vancouver-Seymour’s Joshua Johnson and West Vancouver-Capilano’s Dr. Michael Markwick, a faculty member of CapU’s School of Communication. Surrey-Guilford candidate, Jodi Murphy, and Burnaby-Deer Lake hopeful Rick McGowan were also present.
BC NDP candidates who may be present at their tabling on Apr. 4 include North Vancouver-Lonsdale’s Bowinn Ma, North Vancouver-Seymour’s Michael Charrois, and West Vancouver-Capilano’s Mehdi Russel. There is a strong possibility NDP candidates running in Burnaby and Vancouver may also attend.
BC Liberal contenders who could visit CapU on Apr. 6 include North Vancouver-Lonsdale’s Naomi Yamamoto, North Vancouver-Seymour’s Jane Thornthwaite, and West Vancouver-Capilano’s Ralph Sultan. All are incumbents vying for re-election. According to CSU Organizer Patrick Meehan, BC Liberal candidates from Vancouver could possibly attend as well.
The CSU chose to host these forums so that they could connect students with the different parties in a way that wasn’t viewed as partisan, or favouring one contender. “I think the first is that it’s important to bring candidates out to meet students as an engagement tool. We’re facilitating engagement in politics for our members, without being partisan,” said outgoing CSU President Sacha Fabry.
Of course, since the forums are partisan, both local candidates and staffers from each of the three parties are likely be on hand. On Apr. 10, CSU-sponsored campaign proceedings will wind down with an all-candidates forum between individuals running in North Vancouver Lonsdale and Seymour. The all candidates forum will not be restricted to candidates from the three major parties.
These voter awareness events tie into the CSU’s “Count on Our Vote” campaign, which is providing students with resources to register to vote, and asking that they commit voting in the interest of their future. “Count on Our Vote” is an Alliance of BC Students (ABCS) initiative being carried out by its five student society members, who represent over 60,000 students.
“The hope is that by getting as many students to commit to voting, the ABCS’s lobbying efforts will carry more weight in a similar way that labour unions, industry groups and professional organizations with large memberships do,” said Fabry. “The second is that the CSU has a role in helping our students vote, because we advocate for a host of things like housing and public transportation. The more students vote, the more all parties will listen to our asks. Politics is transactional by nature; governing parties make decisions in part on where votes are, and if students aren’t voting, students won’t be paid attention to.”
For more information on the party forums and the all-candidates meeting for both North Vancouver ridings, refer to the calendar section of csu.bc.ca.
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