CC: Jody Carr, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development
I am writing as an expatriate of Sussex, NB. Following my K-12 education in New Brunswick, I moved to Ottawa to study at Carleton University in 2005. I understand moving into the most politically charged arena in the country from a small town would be somewhat a culture shock for many, but I soon noticed that students educated from other provinces had much more political education than I had.
That was discrepancy I acted quickly to mend, and I became involved in partisan and non-partisan political organizations. Through my studies and activism, I came across the Student Vote program that parallels real elections with a high school voter imperative. Therein, high schools organize information sessions about the actual parties and candidates and students cast their votes on Election Day. The Student Vote program engages youth in our democratic tradition of learning, sharing, and debating. At a time when youth voter apathy stains Canadian politics, programs encouraging youth voter engagement must be offered.
While New Brunswick students have participated in the federal parallel elections, the province has never incorporated this program into their curriculum during a provincial election. As New Brunswickers are hit with austerity budgets on the federal and provincial levels, I want to reiterate the importance of education in creating good citizens and the thinkers of tomorrow.
In short, I am writing to encourage that the NBTA and the Ministry of Education work together to ensure that necessary resources will be available for New Brunswick high schools to run a Student Vote election parallel to the 2014 provincial election. New Brunswickers value their democratic tradition, and a fiscal deficit cannot be repaid with a democratic deficit. I hope that my thoughts have been presented as amicable and that a public commitment to a 2014 Student Vote initiative is issued.