With just days to go before Monday’s federal election, it was decision day at the home of Langley’s Manners Lady.
Judi Vankevich hosted a mock election – open to both home-schooled and public school students in the Langley-Aldergrove and Cloverdale-Langley City electoral districts (or others from outside those ridings) – Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 14, at her home in Brookswood.
The previous day, on Oct. 13, students were able to cast their ballots at a home in Walnut Grove.
That event was strictly drop in – cast your ballot and go.
Vankevich’s local election mirrored Student Vote, a national program in which 7,500 schools across Canada held, or are holding, mock elections this week.
Votes will be counted in a Canada-wide election, to see who would have won if students were the only voters.
Results will be available when the regular polls close.
Parents were welcome to join their children and watch the election process at work.
Eligible voters ranged from kindergarten students to Grade 12s. On Wednesday, there were refreshments and Vankevich said she “gave a little speech.”
Vankevich, who taught a Canadian citizenship class over the past few weeks, said the process was to get young people engaged.
“The average teenager, the whole politics thing is off their radar,” she said.
“They don’t know about it, they don’t care about it, and they don’t know how it affects them.”
Vankevich also encouraged parents to bring their kids along with them when they pick their local MP on Oct. 19, so their children can watch the process unfold.
Calling the election turnout “appalling,” Vankevich is urging those old enough to vote to do so on Monday, thus exercising their democratic right – a privilege others in some countries don’t have.
“If you don’t go out and vote, you have forfeited your right to complain,” she said.
Vankevich is the founder of the Young Canadians Club, with a mandate of training and inspiring young Canadians to make a difference in their community and nation.
This is what her class, Canadian Citizenship 101, is about: getting future voters to start thinking about democracy and politics, so they can make educated choices when they’re old enough to cast their ballots.
The Young Canadians Club including Citizenship 101 classes was designed to help children and teens, as well as new immigrants, understand and, Vankevich said, “appreciate the freedoms and opportunities we cherish in Canada.”
The class involved students from both north and south of the Fraser River.
Maple Ridge students interacted with local candidates Mike Murray (Conservative), Peter Tam (Green), Bob D’Eith (NDP), and Dan Ruimy (Liberal), who fielded questions from the youngsters.