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Prince George post-secondary students encouraged to vote in 2020 B.C. election

CNC, UNBC student unions begin campaign urging youth to express the right
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The College of New Caledonia (above) and UNBC campuses in Prince George. (via Submitted/Kyle Balzer)

The 2020 snap-election in B.C. is less than three weeks away.

This year may be more timely than ever for young people to get involved as two candidates in Prince George ridings are in their 20s, Mackenzie Kerr (Greens) and Laura Parent (NDP), both of whom have urged the need for the next generation to get involved.

A trio of post-secondary student-run programs are teaming up in campaigning for more youth-voter turnout in the election slated for Saturday, Oct. 24.

  • College of New Caledonia Students’ Union
  • University of Northern B.C. Graduate Students Society (NBCGSS)
  • Northern Undergraduate Students Society (NUGSS)

Known as ‘Take It Over,’ the groups have joined a total of 15 unions in the province in encouraging students to register to vote.

"The future cannot be seen but created for sure, and the most significant investment in the future can be choosing a leader who will create opportunities for your future. Elections are the only platform that can do that.” says CNC Students’ Union Chairperson Sharanjit Kaur in a news release. 

“Elections become incredibly important to the youth who desire to grow in the world with their capabilities. All young minds who are full of creativity, talent, and skills are looking for chances to make optimum use of their ability. These elections have become a huge foundation to build your dreams. So, I would like to request everyone and, in particular, the young voters to make the best out of this preliminary opportunity first. Young people can discuss all the qualities and opportunities they desire for their future and then decide which leader is ready to play a part in their future."

‘Take It Over’ officially began on Sept. 23, two days after Premier John Horgan dropped the writ, and the initiative has been working to get youth to commit to voting this year.

NUGSS President Jingyu Chen believes young people should consider who they believe can best represent them in Victoria.

“Prince George is a vibrant university town that houses two post-secondary institutions. Young people’s perspectives are relevant in the society,” they add.

“MLAs are elected by their constituents to represent them on a provincial level. Young people are part of that group and should not be left behind. It’s our responsibility as student societies to ensure that students who are eligible to vote are informed about the election process and that their voices are heard by the people that represent them.” 

However, students’ unions like NUGSS say it represents a ‘unique group’ with separate needs than those of the general student population.

“Graduate students contribute so much to their universities and to the development of their society, in general” Abby Dooks, NBCGSS Director of External Affairs, explains. 

“We are teachers, researchers, our work is published and can achieve academic clout for their institutions to boost their popularity—We can discover new methods scientifically, politically, or otherwise that can contribute to how policy is formed and what technological advances are made… It is very important that Graduate Students’ vote for a leader who will recognize our uniqueness in contributions as well as needs. Some graduate students have children, are trying to make rent, depend on government funding for research and therefore, require prioritization”. 

For more information on ‘Take It Over,’ you can visit its website.