Ontario Provincial Elections Forum at York University
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We are calling to our provincial political parties and their leaders; Kathleen Wynne of the Ontario Liberal Party (L), Doug Ford of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PC), and Andrea Horwath of the New Democratic Party of Ontario (NDP).
We want to hear our candidates and we want them to hear us. We want a conversation to address specific issues by those they matter to. We want to have a thorough understanding of each parties' regard toward many issues, such as Health Care, Education, Employment, Transportation, Social Services, and Civil and Criminal Justice to develop an informed opinion.
Our Provincial elections are being held on June 7. To give all parties involved enough notice to accept our request, we believe holding our questions for May 20 give plenty of time for our leaders to put us on their schedules. This date will also give us enough time to formulate our own opinions and create an informed opinion for the polls.
The discussion will be held at York University. Our campus is easily accessible by transit with the TTC subway extension. The Keele campus also deviates from the congested Downtown Toronto traffic, to make the commute lighter by vehicle.
With this event, we hope to walk away feeling informed and educated. Our government is exactly that - ours.
In the U.S. the baby boom was huge, regarded as the largest generation in the country, closely followed by those in Canada. However, in 2014, millennials outnumbered them by 11 million people. In Ontario, the population of individuals between the ages of 20 to 39, nearly totals 3.5 million people. Of the 10.5 million eligible voters in Ontario, our millennial demographic weighs in at one-third of those who have the ability to vote. So, why is it that in 2011 there was a voter turnout of 48.2 percent? Why were the minority of eligible voters able to choose for the majority? However, 2014 must have been a great year with the first increase in the voter turnout in 20 years, right? Not exactly. That turnout miserably rose to 52.1 percent. Though better than the previous election, still too many voices were not heard. This year won’t be any different if we don’t call our representatives to answer our questions and hear our concerns.
There are many responsibilities of the province and it would be irresponsible to insist that none of these factors affect you. As post-secondary students and graduates, our looming concerns include tuition and financial aid. What is Doug Ford’s opinion on the increased grants to loan ratio? Will he continue to divert this portion of Ontario’s budget to support our education? Another concerns many of our graduating students may have is job security. Between 2016 and 2017, did you know there were 58,900 added job opportunities for health-related occupations? Did you know there were 58,900 job opportunities lost in regard to occupations related to education, law and social, community and government services? Yet, the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since 2012, a little more than 8 percent. York University is known as to have a “commuter community”. Most of our student body does not reside on campus residence, but instead, we travel from all over the GTA. Late last year, the extension of the TTC subway made its debut into Vaughan. Meanwhile, Brampton Transit readily increased their adult fares to $4.00. The liberal government has proposed fare reduction to the GO Transit for those traveling within the City of Toronto or 10 kilometres. There is also discussion about the province taking ownership of the subway. So how will that affect fares? Will GTA transit systems become more interchangeable?
These specific concerns stem from three very general responsibilities of our provincial government, jobs + employment, driving + roads, and education + training. Their reach, however, extends to business + economy, environment + energy, health + wellness, home + community, rural areas + the north, taxes + benefits, travel + recreation, as well as arts + culture. We need to make ourselves aware of what affects us, how it affects us, who else does it effect, are we okay with that, and where can compromises be found?
If not this year, perhaps the federal election or the next provincials. We need to make ourselves actively aware to allow democracy to take full effect. Whichever way this election goes, we need to pick up the pace and keep up. An effort was made by Martin Regg Cohn to understand what is the disconnect between young potential voters and the election. Successfully, Ontario parties were able to come together in order to talk to each other and to students. The difference between this proposal and that event is the purpose. Cohn’s event seemed to be purposed to question why is there such a low voting turnout. Whereas, I feel like understanding their stance and the party’s direction will help us feel part of the process.
This petition will serve as an eye opener, we need to show the candidate parties that there is a whole boat of people that feel looked over. With the petition, it will help to show sponsors that the potential of the event does have attention. We are looking for Student Organizations on campus for any support they can give, with that support we will be able to book out spaces on campus to hold the event.
To take further action, it would also help to call the parties' offices and make a request in reference to the petition and the event.
Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, tel: 416-861-0020 (toll free 1-800-903-6453)
Ontario Liberal Party, tel: 416-961-3800 (toll free 1-800-268-7250)
New Democratic Party of Ontario, tel: 416-591-8637 (toll free 1-866-390-ONDP )
Thank you for all your support,
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