Political Club: Student Vote

Esquimalt High School was one of the first in Canada to hold student votes in federal, provincial and municipal elections.  Esquimalt High School’s Political Club coordinates the Student Vote and helps students become aware of and involved in local, regional, provincial, national and international political issues.

Want to get involved?  Drop by the library and talk to the club sponsor, Esquimalt High School’s teacher-librarian, Mr. Orme.  Or send him an email and he will put you in touch with the student organizers.

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Student Vote 2014 at ESQ

studentvote2014On Friday, Nov, 14th, 132 Esquimalt students cast their vote in the special Student Vote. Students cast ballots for mayoral and council candidates prior to the official election day on Saturday, November 15th to raise awareness about the electoral system and to encourage participation by future voters. Weeks ago several students began planning an all candidates meeting by contacting mayoral and councillor candidates, plastering posters around the school, and obtaining electoral materials.

While municipal candidates crafted speeches and campaign posters for the nearing election, Esquimalt students began working on the planning process for their own election. Students sent out invitations to candidates and obtained their stances on certain issues. Students had the opportunity to ask candidates questions about their platforms during the all candidates meeting. Among those in attendance were three of the four mayoral candidates: re-elected mayor, Barb Desjardins, former Esquimalt High School graduate, Scott Atrill, and retired deputy police chief, John Ducker. Mr. David Shebib was not available to attend the all-candidates meeting and was later contacted by phone.

During the all candidates meeting many opinions were shared. These opinions helped to inform the student voters who made their final decisions and cast their votes the next day. The polls opened at the beginning of 2nd block and 132 students cast their vote. When the dust settled and the ballots were counted, the student vote committee had tallied 132 votes, including 5 spoiled ballots. Ultimately, the student vote concluded in a draw between John Ducker and Barb Desjardins, each with 50 votes. The elected council members were Beth Burton Krahn, Lynda Hundleby, Olga Liberchuk, Susan low, Tim Morrison, and Josh Steffler.

The student vote committee also contacted David Shebib, who was Political _Club_Student_Vote_2014running for mayor in 13 Greater Victoria ridings, by phone and conducted an interview with him. If elected mayor, he told us that his first action would be to set up a tent encampment in Beacon Hill Park. He told us that it would be an “emergency preparedness camp for the coming changes which we are about to face due to an economic and environmental collapse of an underconfident government.” Furthermore, David Shebib said firmly that he does not recognize the Federal Government and he believes that the Crown Corporation is an “occupying force”. In a moment of lucidity he told us that we are the power and that “every person is a power in itself” – whether you agree or disagree with Shebib’s radical views, you cannot completely discount them.

Now that the official election results have been released we can compare and contrast Esquimalt’s student vote results with Esquimalt’s municipal election results. Many of the students who voted in this mock-election view it as a stepping-stone to, as they put it, “the real world”. This makes sense considering many of those who voted in the student vote will be eligible to vote in the next Municipal, Provincial, and Federal elections, the closest being only one year away.