Online election discussion could stir interest

Only five days before the Big Day.

When this paper is on the stands, it will be five short days before we all get to have our say in the federal election, and I have to admit, I’m very interested to see what happens.

Ruth Lloyd

Black Press

Only five days before the Big Day.

When this paper is on the stands, it will be five short days before we all get to have our say in the federal election, and I have to admit, I’m very interested to see what happens.

Last election, Canada had a record low voter turnout, with disaffected voters uninterested and disengaged from the issues and probably the politicians themselves. I’m hoping this time will be different. However, it seems like there might be some who disagree with a call to encourage young voters to get out and vote.

The Conservative Party has launched legal action against a University of Guelph polling station, where students were being given the chance to cast their ballot early. Seven hundred students took the opportunity to make their mark.

Early voting might be critical to some students, many of whom will be relocating just after exams finish, and during the actual election.

The Conservative legal challenge alleges there was partisan material present at or near the polling station, a violation of the Canada Elections Act, and wants the votes thrown out. The local Conservative candidate’s communications director was even reported making a grab for the ballot box to prevent further voting, confirmed by two witnesses in a Guelph Mercury news story on the incident.

I find this whole thing disturbing. Elections Canada officials were conducting the voting and you would hope they were upholding the rules. If the Conservative Party had an issue with the proceedings, should they not go through the proper channels instead of attempting to strike engaged youth voters’ opinions from the record?

I just hope Canada’s election doesn’t degenerate to the point of recent elections in the United States, where there were reports voters in some African American-dominated ridings were prevented from voting by huge line-ups and issues around registration, large numbers of people mysteriously dropped from voters lists.

And I do remain hopeful we will not suffer this same fate with governments and parties manipulating the system and the media – though something like the latest installment of national media (Sun News Network) is probably not a step in the right direction.

But for this election at least, social media has kept me optimistic.

While I would say no particular party has successfully engaged the youth vote, I think there has been some major progress done online by other groups to engage voters and especially youth using social media.

One website has gone viral and been tweeted about by both author Margaret Atwood (who has over 162,000 followers) and Ellen Page of Juno fame (who has over 100,000) followers.

Launched on April 13 this year, the website has seemed to at least engage voters, some of whom I would assume are youth, given that it went viral via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The website is www.shitharperdid.ca, and while the name might offend some and scare others off as too radical, it is actually a comedic site, started by a “network of young Canadian comedians, musicians, actors and designers” according to the site’s release.

There are videos and comedic captions, all taking Stephen Harper to task for something he has done while in office, and all backed up by links to news stories from various media, including the CBC, Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and others.

It’s hilarious, if somewhat disturbing.

But while you may or may not agree with what the site is trying to say, I think it is a prime example of how social media is attempting to engage voters, and especially young voters, a traditionally uninterested segment of the voting population.

I for one, am enjoying the spectacle.

 

I am also appreciating the fact that the various political parties haven’t caught on directly, which gives the online debate a more open and sometimes rebellious tone. And what young person doesn’t appreciate a little rebellion?

 

 

Just Posted

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

RCMP to review actions at Wet’suwet’en pipeline protest camps

Senior Mountie says he hopes protests will be peaceful following deal with hereditary chiefs

‘Tripod’ delays access to Unist’ot’en camp

Social media rumours of cultural significance quashed, meaning police “exclusion zones” should end.

Hereditary chiefs negotiate injunction agreement

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs abide by interim injunction, but gate stays up. Still opposed.

College of New Caledonia wants public’s input on budget

A public consultation will be held Feb. 1 at 4 p.m. at Vanderhoof Campus

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Most Read