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Manitoba youngsters re-elect all

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MANITOBA'S underage student voters are pretty happy with the choices their parents have made.

Bucking a national trend, the 21,282 Manitoba participants in the Student Vote project returned all 14 incumbent MPs to office.

Nationally, more than half a million schoolchildren not yet old enough to vote unseated incumbents from ocean to ocean to ocean. They gave the Conservatives a minority government with a strong NDP opposition and the Liberals and Bloc Québécois falling out of sight.

It's the fourth federal election for Student Vote, an education-in-democracy project that teaches students about the democratic process, researching political-party platforms, hosting candidate town halls and debating the future of the country.

Students cast ballots for candidates in the ridings where their schools are located. Results were reported for 512,175 ballots from 3,416 schools in 299 of the 308 electoral districts across Canada.

The Conservatives won 128 seats, increasing their student seat count from 102 in 2008 and increasing their take of total votes cast to 30.8 per cent from 25.6. This marks the party's best showing to date and the third straight student election it's won.

The NDP won 113 seats, forming the official Opposition for the third straight Student Vote election.

The Liberals were held to 48 seats, close to the 51 they won in 2008.

The Green party won 41 student seats in 2008 but are down to a mere five this year.

In Quebec, the Bloc Québécois won five seats -- 28 seats less than in 2008 and their worst showing ever.

In Manitoba, students returned the same nine Conservatives, three New Democrats and two Liberals we had going into the election. In student voting, the Tories received 39.7 per cent, the NDP 26.6 per cent and the Liberals, despite retaining their two seats, barely nudged out the Greens, 15.8 per cent to 15.1 per cent.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 3, 2011 A1

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