If there’s a glimpse of hope for the NDP in future federal elections, the seed has been sown among voters too young to vote now — and the other parties may want to take notes.
According to the results of a mock election held among more than 700,000 elementary, intermediate and secondary school students, the Liberals edged the other parties to win a minority government just as it did in Monday’s federal election.
However, in the students’ vote, New Democrat Party Leader Jagmeet Singh formed the largest opposition party, winning 107 of the 338 seats in Parliament to the Liberals’ 117 seats, said Student Vote Canada, a hands-on program for students to learn about the voting process.
The NDP also have garnered 29 per cent of the popular vote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 24 per cent for the Liberals, according to the fantasy election.
The 740,515 student voters came from more than 5,478 schools across Canada and votes were cast in all 338 federal ridings. The mock election came after the students researched the parties and platforms, and debated hot issues raised on the campaign trail.
During Canada’s 44th general election campaign all parties tried hard to engage with voters, especially the younger generation, through social media pandemic-related public health concerns hindered in-person door knocking.
The new platform TikTok became an important venue for engaging with Gen Z voters, and Singh was the only party leader of with a TikTok account, which gave the NDP a clear advantage in translating Gen Z followers into young voters by engaging them on their preferred platform.
Singh’s TikTok account amassed more than 700,000 followers and 20 viral videos. An estimated 40 per cent of Canadian between the ages of 18 and 24 use the app.
The NDP leader’s TikTok profile showcases political and social justice content, however it is balanced by incorporating trending content — such as his viral “Oh Nanana” dance video, which he used to promote social distancing.
It was no wonder that polling showed Singh having a higher positive impression rate among young voters, according to Sara Bourdeau, director of operations for the StrategyCorp Institute of Public Policy and Economy.
According to the Student Vote Canada 2021 edition, all party leaders won in their own ridings, except for Bloc Québecois’ Yves-François Blanchet in Beloeil-Chambly and the Green party’s Annamie Paul in Toronto Centre.
Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives won 91 seats and 25 per cent of the popular vote to become the third largest opposition party, with the Bloc trailing with 20 seats and 2 per cent of the total votes, and the Green party with three seats and 10 per cent of the national vote.
Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada won 47,743 or 6.65 per cent of the popular vote.
Nicholas Keung is a Toronto-based reporter covering immigration for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @nkeung