Huron-Bruce students vote PC, buck NDP trend - June 14, 2018
BY DENNY SCOTT
If students under the voting age decided how Ontario would be run, the NDP Party would have claimed victory during last week’s election.
Student Vote is a program designed to encourage students to learn about and paricipate in politics. Through the program, schools across the province were polled and the results differed from those of their adult counterparts.
Those who participated felt the NDP should have won a majority government, earning 68 seats and 32.35 per cent of the vote. The Progressive Conservative Party came in second with 45 seats and 26.71 per cent of the vote, the Ontario Liberal Party earned 10 seats and 18.79 per cent of the vote while the Green Party took the remaining two seats and 12.97 per cent of the vote.
While students across the province may have voted differently from their parents, students in Huron-Bruce voted very similarly, electing PC MPP Lisa Thompson with an overwhelming 41.11 per cent of the 3,578 votes cast.
Second was Jan Johnstone of the NDP with 26.77 per cent and third was Liberal Don Matheson who earned 13.53 per cent, edging out fourth-place finisher Nicholas Wendler of the Green Party who captured 11.77 per cent of the votes.
Ron Stephens of the Libertarian party earned 4.44 per cent of the vote while Gerrie Huenemoerder of the Alliance Party finished last with 2.38 per cent of the vote.
North Woods Elementary School was one of the 29 schools that participated and, as Grade 5/6 teacher Morgan Deitner explained, the vote was as close-to-reality as possible.
On Monday morning, Deitner read out the class results of the vote, noting that some students’ ballots were spoiled by not following instructions.
Just like adult voters needed to mark their votes with an ‘X’, students were required to use blue ink.
“Several didn’t,” she told her class. “It made for a more authentic vote as we had some rejected ballots.”
Students asked if anyone declined to pick a candidate, to which Deitner said no, though she noted there was serious debate about that option leading up to the election.
Deitner’s class voted in Johnstone of the NDP to be Huron-Bruce’s MPP with 12 of 17 admissible votes. Incumbent Thompson earned four votes and Huenemoerder of the Alliance Party received one.
Liberal candidate Matheson struck out due to the only vote he received being spoiled.
Neither Stephens nor Wendler received any support from the class.
When asked why they thought the class had voted differently than the rest of the electorate, students had some interesting responses.
“The Conservatives got so many votes because they had a good platform,” James Armstrong said. “They presented good information.”
Tony Enns said that the NDP worked on their platform and took their time, but it just didn’t pay off.
Braydon Ridley said that everyone thought the PC Party was going to win, which led to more momentum going to the polls.
As for why Thompson won Huron-Bruce, Hudson Marshall felt that the PC Party found support because it wants to focus on smaller towns and rural areas.
When students were asked if the results of the election overall were a surprise, their reactions varied.
Caleb Koch, for example, said it didn’t surprise him.
“I follow the PC Party,” he said. “I knew they were going to win Huron-Bruce. They do stuff about problems in small towns. They also said they were going to change a lot, like the gas prices.”
Koch went on to say that PC Party leader Doug Ford’s promise to reduce gas prices may have been a game-changer for the party.
“That change would help a lot of people because of transportation and it will help a lot of farmers because farming uses gas,” he said.
When asked about the “Blue Tide” in Toronto, which saw many urban ridings in the centre switch from Liberal to Conservative refpresentatives, Enns said it showed that people wanted Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne out.
“They wanted a change because of what the Liberals were doing,” he explained.
Ridley said Toronto residents may have wanted a change because the Liberals were in power for a long time.
“The things they were doing made everything harder for Canadians,” he said.
Ethan Van Beek said that gas prices probably played in to the decision, with Ford’s promise to drop it gaining him support. Several other students agreed, saying that the price of gas was likely a key issue for people in Toronto because of the amount of time they spend on the road.