By: Kelly Chia, Staff Writer
With Election Day coming up on October 21, many of us are preparing to vote for our first federal election. And while that’s pretty exciting, it’s also really nerve-wracking. We’re making decisions that will uphold our democracy, and eyes are on us to show up at the polls.
Global News recently reported that Millennials — which they defined as people born between 1980 and 2000 — will “make up the biggest voting bloc in the federal election.” Igor Korbaciz of Abacus Data, which provided the data on the potential impact of millennial voters this election, says, “I do feel comfortable saying there is nothing I see in the data today that suggests that they will be as motivated to do so as they were in 2015.”
So where do we start? The Peak has published a cheat sheet for useful voting information that I encourage you to check out. This article gives you a basic rundown of how our elections work and how you can register to vote, as well as some more useful resources to help you make your decision.
What Party Are You Interested In?
As mentioned at the bottom of the cheat sheet, if you’re not too clear about where you align politically, CBC has an assessment to help you decide.
Vote Projections for Each Riding (AKA: Who’s Who in My Riding?)
This website provides an interactive map and legend for what the projected vote looks like in each riding. The rest of the website also predicts the odds of what party will win the most seats and updates quite regularly. It can definitely be helpful to know how your community might vote. I live in the Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam riding, and Port Coquitlam historically favours NDP candidates (though the North side of Coquitlam tends to vote in favour of the Conservative party). Because of that, I’d be more likely to check out Christina Gower’s platform as she is the NDP candidate for the riding.
What are the Parties’ Platforms?
There are five official parties in Canada: the Liberals, Conservatives, the NDP, the Green Party of Canada, the Bloc Québécois and. . . the People’s Party of Canada. The respective platforms of the parties will give you a good sense of what they are committing to.
If you’d like to compare all the parties’ takes on issues that you care about, CBC and Maclean’s have listed the official parties’ platforms by the way they’ve addressed key voting issues. These can be sorted by ones that are relevant to you, like by education and jobs, for example.
Get to Know Your Party Leader!
I would suggest watching the Federal Leaders’ Debate if you haven’t checked it out — it’s still available on YouTube. While speaking ability and charisma isn’t a determining factor in your vote, it’s useful to watch the debates to see how the leaders respond to the debate prompts based on key voting issues. This will help give you a sense of which party leader you resonate with.
Leader Meter measures the approval ratings of the five official party leaders, taking statistics over time. It’s frequently updated, so if you’re wondering about what kind of support a leader is getting after a debate, check it out.
Though this can be generally directed to the parties rather than their leaders, this section of CBC is focused on giving quick run-down on whether the leaders are making sound claims. If you think a candidate said something fishy, it doesn’t hurt to check here.
Neat Guides to Follow Along During Election Season
All the Canadian Politics!
I’ve been following this blog for years, and I highly recommend browsing it this election season. This is a left-leaning politics account that frequently updates in newsletter-style posts. The author, Tynan Phillips, is quick to answer questions and direct people to resources if they would like to find out more.
This is an organized guide that gives quick summaries of the official party leaders, where to watch the debates, and frequently updates with the latest campaign news.
If you don’t think you have enough time to follow the election, then it’s a good idea to check out some podcasts that are discussing the election. The website recommends five podcasts to help you get caught up on election news.
Lastly, If You Need to Check Anything At All
Elections Canada runs the federal elections and is your best bet for any remaining questions you have about voting procedures. If you’re not sure of where you’re voting, whether you’re registered, or what your riding is, please check the Elections Canada website.