Students must engage in current federal election

We are in the midst of another election, courtesy of a motion of non-confidence in the government passed by the opposition parties last Friday. While most of us probably aren’t too keen on another election cycle — the fourth in seven years — students must nonetheless remain vigilant about being engaged in the upcoming federal election.

In the past year we have had two elections. In October, the municipal elections were held, while in January the annual elections for the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) proceeded. In both cases we were disappointed in the level of student engagement — all-candidates meetings were dominated by empty chairs and in the case of the municipal elections, there was abysmal voter turnout.

The coming federal election will not be heavily focused on education policy, simply because it is a provincial jurisdiction, but that does not mean that the issues in this campaign do not matter to students. We are very much impacted by a lack of jobs in the workforce upon graduation, the declining state of our health care system and skyrocketing debt that will be on our shoulders to pay back. We have a vested interest to ensure that the Canadian Pension Plan will be around when we get older and that our democracy remains open and transparent — the contempt of parliament ruling should be a major red flag.

It will be tough to stay engaged — the timing is atrocious. With exams through April and people moving at the beginning of May, it will be a challenge for students to stay in the loop.

Regardless, be sure to vote, either in your home riding or in Kitchener-Waterloo. If Election Day doesn’t fit your schedule you can vote at an advanced poll or by special ballot at the Elections Canada Returning Office. And we challenge you to do more than that: write a letter to the editor in your local paper, attend campaign events or knock on doors for your local candidate. Make your voice truly heard.