Heads up if you have a burning question for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay candidates running in the upcoming federal election.
Next week in Trail, there will be an opportunity to hear from all six candidates.
On Wednesday, Oct. 9, there will be an all candidates forum held in the high school gym from 10 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
Teacher Ami Starzner is helping students organize the event, which is open to the public.
As head of the Social Studies department at J.L. Crowe Secondary School, she says hosting a discussion with federal candidates in the four walls of a school is a good fit for students and the community-at-large.
“We wanted to organize an all candidates forum because it is important for students to understand their democratic rights and responsibilities as early as possible,” Starzner told the Trail Times.
“This knowledge helps them to feel empowered to participate, and become active citizens as they grow up,” she said.
“We wanted to invite the public as well, so that students see this as an authentic part of the democratic process. Students will be involved in developing questions for the candidates and in facilitating the forum.”
She says students have already been vocal on a number of issues such as the environment and how climate change is affecting their futures, as well as concern around government transparency and how politicians conduct themselves.
“Students have been talking a lot about their economic futures, and what opportunities and barriers they will face in their lives,” Starzner said.
“For example, there are lots of conversations about post-secondary tuition and cost of living.”
Grade 11 and 12s are definitely more engaged in the election conversation, but talk does trickle down to their younger peers.
“I think they see it as more relevant because a few of them will actually be able to vote in this election, and if not this one, then the next for sure,” she said.
“But I do notice that more and more students, at every grade level, are asking more questions, and becoming more interested in what different political situations mean for them.”
Besides hosting the forum, the school is having a student vote on Oct. 18.
The six candidates for this riding, in alphabetical order, are: NDP incumbent Richard Cannings; Connie Denesiuk, running a second time for the Liberal Party of Canada; Carolina Marie Hopkins, an Independent candidate; Tara Howse for the Green Party of Canada; Helena Konanz from the Conservative Party of Canada; and Sean Taylor, representing the People’s Party of Canada.
The country’s 43rd federal election will take place on Monday, Oct. 21.
Advance voting opportunities in Trail are October 11, 12, 13 and 14 at the Trail Memorial Centre. Hours on the weekdays are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., then noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.