November 12, 2018

By BRADLEY ZORGDRAGER

A 40th anniversary is something to be celebrated, but in this case many might choose to ignore it.

The coming provincial election marks Ontario’s 40th general election, but as in past elections, many students and young adults may choose to not vote.

Voters who missed the advance poll at the Conestoga College residence on Sept. 29 can still cast their vote on Oct. 6 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. at their assigned poll. For students in residence, this is at Doon Public School, 1401 Doon Village Rd. Other eligible voters should have received information on their poll in the mail.

Although the polls at Conestoga College were cancelled due to the support worker strike, Elections Ontario reinstated the aforementioned poll for one day.

William Proctor is the returning officer for the Kitchener-Conestoga riding in which the college resides. This means that at the end of the election, he sends the return, which says which candidate has the most votes and will be the MPP.

But he doesn’t decide who is elected, that’s up to the voting public, so here are the four candidates for the Kitchener-Conestoga riding.

Robert Rose, 29
Green Party of Canada
Party Platform:
-Job creation for the 21st century economy
-Harness safe, affordable energy
-Promote access to close-to-home health care
-Build stronger local farms to feed our communities
-Government that works! Ensure open, transparent government
Political Experience:
“Thankfully none. I haven’t been corrupted by big business and I have true goals, which I strive to achieve for my riding and the Green party.”
What will you do for students?:
Rose first plans to introduce a tuition freeze. He also plans to “create more education to grow the certified field of Red Seal journeymen.” Red Seal journeymen are skilled workers who pass a test after completing their apprenticeship and are then able to take on an apprentice of their own.
Why should students take the time to vote?:
“Voting matters! I may not have always had the option to vote Green because the party is constantly growing, but they count.”

Leeanna Pendergast, 49 (Incumbent)
Liberal Party of Canada
Party Platform:
“Our platform is about providing you with a plan for the future, one that will see us through uncertain times into the kind of society we want to build for you and the students that follow you.”
Pendergast believes that a strong economy will allow us to invest in items to improve the quality of life in Canada, such as schools, hospitals and the environment.
Political Experience:
Pendergast was elected as the Kitchener-Conestoga riding’s MPP in 2007. She’s held many positions as a member of the legislature. She helped create a program to educate Ontario students in managing finances.
What will you do for students?:
Pendergast said the Liberal party has plans to continue supporting students beyond what they have already done.
“We also want to create 60,000 more post-secondary education spaces, provide a 3 per cent undergraduate tuition grant for low- and middle-income families and extend the OSAP grace period for those entering the non-profit sector.”
Why should students take the time to vote?
“Students have one of the largest voices in Ontario. Unfortunately, many don’t use it. Do you know if that in the last election, students could have influenced 67 seats in the Ontario Legislature?”
Pendergast added that by not voting, students are allowing candidates to skip over their needs in their platform, as they don’t see any benefit.

Michael Harris, 32
Ontario PC Party
Party Platform:
– Deliver immediate relief on home energy bills
– Lower the tax burden on middle-class families
– Invest in education, colleges, universities and health care
– Clean up waste in government
– Keep our neighbourhoods safe
Political Experience:
Harris graduated from the business management program at Conestoga College. He has since completed the Leadership Waterloo Region program. Harris currently works as a business development manager at Honeywell. He has served on Kitchener city council.
What will you do for students?:
– Increase funding for colleges and universities to help address the out-of-control tuition increases under the McGuinty Liberals
– Create more than 200,000 new apprenticeship spaces over four years
– Create up to 60,000 post-secondary spaces for students in Ontario
– Raise the OSAP threshold to make it more accessible
– End the foreign scholarship program that puts international students ahead of Ontario students
Why should students take the time to vote?:
Harris believes that many student-specific issues aren’t being addressed, such as student debt, high tuition costs, access to apprenticeship spaces and getting a good job after graduation. He said that many decisions directly affecting young people are being made without consulting those affected.
“Voting is the best way to make sure your voice is heard.”

Mark Cairns (did not return emails or phone calls in time, so this information was taken from his website)
New Democratic Party
Party Platform:
– Making life affordable
– Create and protect jobs
– Health care that works
– Live within our means
– Affordable green choices
– Change for rural Ontario
– Respect for the North
– Education
– Affordable housing and anti-poverty plan
Political Experience:
Cairns has worked as a Waterloo Regional labour council officer. He’s been “politically involved” since moving to Kitchener in 2003.
What will you do for students?:
According to his website, Cairns wants to lower tuition fees and raise the minimum wage, which could help students save money for their schooling.
Why should students take the time to vote?:
No answer.

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