Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Young people 'quite engaged' with politics

But lack knowledge, official says

  • Print

OTTAWA -- Young people are interested in politics and elections, they just aren't given enough tools and knowledge to get involved, Canada's chief electoral officer said Wednesday.

Marc Mayrand is meeting with various youth groups this week as part of Election Canada's first Democracy Week. It coincides today with the United Nations' International Democracy Day.

"We're talking and celebrating democracy outside of all things political," said Mayrand.

One of Elections Canada's mandates is to improve voter engagement and voter turnout. A little more than 61 per cent of voters cast a ballot in the May 2 federal election, slightly higher than the historic low of 58 per cent in 2008.

Mayrand wants Canadians to think this week about how democracy has influenced their lives and remind them democracy belongs to them.

With five provincial and territorial elections underway and a sixth starting in just weeks, there is no better time.

Tuesday, Mayrand kicked off a contest urging Canadians between 14 and 30 to express what democracy means to them in a tweet, blog, video or photo.

In a meeting with 25 students from grades 11 and 12 in Toronto, Mayrand said he didn't detect any of the cynicism often attributed to young people as they discussed the Ontario provincial election.

"What struck me was they were quite engaged and quite interested," Mayrand said. "The thing they needed is a bit more knowledge."

He said his message to the students was to understand the importance of being informed, to get engaged with political parties.

"Some see MPs and elected officials as being remote," he said.

He said the students were surprised when he suggested they write their MPs and ask them to attend one of their classes. Most of them didn't know they could do that.

"We need to remove some of the perceived barriers," Mayrand said.

Elections Canada has developed some civic education materials for use in schools. They're also encouraging kids to take it upon themselves to get engaged with the contest, which is being co-sponsored by the group Apathy is Boring.

Winners can receive a camera, iPad, PlayStation 3 and gift cards.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

On the web:

Canada's Democracy Week -- www.democracy-democratie.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 16, 2011 A7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Steve Ashton comments on bid for NDP leadership

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.

View More Gallery Photos

U2011: Understanding the Manitoba election: University of Manitoba

Poll

How will you be spending the holiday season? (select all that apply)

View Results

Ads by Google