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This article was published 14/9/2011 (3258 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A recent community forum aimed at getting young voters more engaged in the political process left one of its key organizers frustrated and searching for answers.
GET REAL, a forum for youth to meet the five candidates in the Point Douglas riding prior to the Oct. 4 provincial election, was to have been held Sept. 3 at the Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre.
The event, which targeted voters between the ages of 18 and 30, was cancelled after four of the candidates in the riding withdrew.
Michael Champagne, a representative for Aboriginal Youth Opportunities who was to have served as host of the forum, said he was disappointed and frustrated by the lack of support from candidates.
"It does make me feel like youth aren't a priority," he said.
Although some parties offered to send other representatives to the forum, Champagne said there wasn’t much point in continuing with it.
"The point is for potential voters to get to know the candidates, not talking heads or the ideas of the party, which any voter could read for themselves," he said.
"The idea is to interact face-to-face with their candidates."
Kyle Geske, who helped co-create www.manitobaelection.ca, a website devoted to provincial election coverage and history, said one of the reasons why young Canadians aren’t more engaged in the political process is they aren’t provided with enough information.
Geske said that was one of the main reasons that he and partner Jody Gillis created their website.
"Young people aren’t getting out to the polls, but what we are seeing is people are not having enough information to make an informed choice on voting day," he said.
Champagne said there needs to be a better flow of information between candidates and young voters.
"It could be as simple as an individual tweet, but it empowers voters to know they are being acknowledged," he said, noting the group North End Votes hopes to host a provincial leaders forum in the area on Sept. 26.
Champagne isn’t holding his breath.
"It seems like the current ones are talking heads giving us all the solutions we need, instead of hashing out solutions with others," he said.
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