School of Media Talks Youth Issues at Federal Election Debate
Politics, whether we like it or not, affects the world around us. It’s crucial in shaping our society and laying the foundation for the rules and values that we observe within that fabric - for the next few years at least. Canadians have the power to decide what those few years will look like this year.
With the Federal Elections, just around the corner, Canadians across the country have found themselves caught up in the political frenzy. This election cycle in particular has been a bit of a wild-ride. Candidates have been constantly duking it out with each other on public debates or social media, talking about their contentious platforms and working to navigate some questionable choices. All this action has left voters searching for more answers.
Candidates Talk About the Important Stuff
On Wednesday, October 9th, Seneca proudly hosted its first Federal Election Debate. We invited Judy Sgro (Liberal), Maria Aguimeri (NDP), Ifitkar Choudhry (PC), and Mike Schmitz (Green Party) from he Humber River - Black Creek riding along with Gerard Racine (PPC) from the York South - Weston, to answer questions most pertinent to the youth, and help educate them on their party’s platforms so that they could make an informed choice on Election Day.
Candidates were asked about their stance on climate change, immigration policies, gun control, abortion as well as the economy and housing market. While a panel of students asked candidates some of the more pressing concerns, the floor was opened to student questions for the last half of the debate.
Pandora Cheng, the moderator of the panel rivalled Rosemary Barton and Anderson Cooper with calm yet assertive demeanour on stage. While the Journalism students managed the front-end of this debate, our Radio and Television students captured the action for those who could not make it. The event wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of our Event and Media Production students, who set up the venue and organized a live-stream for those watching from home.
While the behind the scenes action was absolute pandemonium leading up to the event, everything fell into place the day of. We found Paula Todd giving our slightly nervous moderator words of wisdom backstage, while Bill Hutchison prepped the student panel, and Bob Sorger and Greg Davis worked with TV students in the dark - literally - to make sure all technicalities ran smoothly. It was a testament to how every element of media is necessary to an event of this caliber.
Addressing Canada's Youth Voters
Among these voters are millennials, many of whom are familiar with this song and dance. Most noteworthy however, are the first of the Gen-Z’s who can now cast a ballot. Between these two groups, they make up perhaps the largest section of the electorate. They are also the ones who have the most questions and concerns to voice in the leadership race.
In a bid to address some of these questions, the Journalism department at Seneca College, School of Media invited Member of Parliament candidates for an official debate right here on the Seneca Media campus. After intensive research and polling, a student committee with the guidance of our incredible faculty created a series of questions covering issues that were most relevant to our student body.
Young Voters Care!
Let it be known, that those who say the younger generation is more involved than ever in this nation’s democracy. The turnout was impressive, and the level of thought the students put behind their questions showed a high level of understanding of the prominent issues and a passion to make a difference with their vote. It became evident early in the debate that they were going to hold the candidates accountable to their remarks and make sure that they got the answers they were looking for.
The students present had done prior research on the topics that concerned them most, and pressed candidates for answers until they were satisfied. While many are concerned about the the poor voter turnout on Election Day, there was no evidence of apathy at the debate. Young voters seemed more engaged in the politics of their nation than ever!
We are so #SenecaProud of our students’ and faculty’s dedication to ensuring that young voters have a platform to voice their concerns, and were extremely honoured to be present for this event. This was certainly an incredible experience for students and reinforced the idea that young voters can make a difference!
Remember, you have the power to shape the future of this country. Whichever party you choose to support, just vote.
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