B.C. students elected an NDP majority with a Green Party opposition in the Student Vote BC 2017.
More than 170,000 B.C. elementary and high school students participated in the student vote, with 1,092 schools, representing all 87 electoral districts, reporting election results.
The results of the Student Vote show the BC NDP counting 60 seats, the BC Green Party counting 14 and the BC Liberal Party counting 12. The students also elected one independent candidate.
Castlegar students at Stanley Humphries Secondary School (SHSS), Kinnaird Elementary School, Twin Rivers Elementary School and Robson Community School all participated in the provincial Student Vote, as did 12 other schools in Kootenay West.
Local students elected NDP incumbent Katrine Conroy with 46.59 per cent of the vote, while Sam Tory, BC Green Party candidate received 32.16 per cent of the vote, and Jim Postnikoff, BC Liberal Party candidate, received 21.25 per cent of the vote.
CIVIX, the non-partisan charity that organized the Student Vote, also released statistics by school.
SHSS students elected Conroy with 48.41 per cent of the vote, and gave Postnikoff 29.68 per cent and Troy 21.90 per cent.
Twin Rivers student elected Conroy with 63.79 per cent of the vote, and gave Troy 23.28 per cent and Postnikoff 12.93 per cent.
Kinnaird Elementary students elected Conroy with 54.95 per cent, and gave Tory 27.47 per cent and Postnikoff 17.58 per cent.
Finally, Robson Community students elected Conroy with 57.41 per cent, and gave Postnikoff 25.93 per cent and Troy 16.67 per cent.
Students at SHSS voted on Monday and Fiona Martin’s Grade 11 students were responsible for organizing the election.
“The Grade 11s that are running the vote did a three-week politics and government unit, so they learned all about our Canadian government, provincial government, the democratic rights, all of the rights and freedoms that we have in Canada that are based on our right to vote and democracy,” explained Martin.
The Grade 11 students, who will be eligible to vote in the next provincial election, also learned about what to expect when they head to the polls for the real thing.
Some students also had the opportunity to hear from the candidates on Thursday, May 4.
“They came and spoke to all our Grade 11 and 12s, and we had two classed from Crowe and a class from RSS [Rossland Summit School] that came,” said Martin. “And during that time they had about five minutes to talk about their platforms and then they fielded questions from the students for an hour.”
Students asked the candidates about issues important to them, such as adolescent mental health, the fentanyl crisis, jobs for youth, minimum wage, affordable education and environmental issues.
Martin also shared videos from CIVIX with other teachers so they could share them with their students.
“They have some videos on what democracy is, why it’s important to vote, the government structure of Canada and of B.C. and then they also had sort of a good run-through of what each of the parties is looking for, each of the leaders and their standpoints on housing, education, health care, transportation and the environment,” explained Martin.
“We watched a video on all [of the parties’] platforms and learned a little bit, and wrote pros and cons to all of them, so we could all decide which one works best for us personally,” explained Sarah Illes, one of Martin’s students.
This was SHSS’s first time participating in the Student Vote.