Students at Drinkwater Elementary interact with the Cowichan Valley candidates via Zoom ahead of the student vote. (Submitted)

Students at Drinkwater Elementary interact with the Cowichan Valley candidates via Zoom ahead of the student vote. (Submitted)

Cowichan’s student vote mirrors real results

Big issues considered by students were homelessness, the opioid crisis, and COVID19

The final results of the Oct. 24 election are not set in stone as the mail in ballots have yet to be accounted for, but the results of the student vote are in.

Thanks to Civix Canada and Elections BC’s schools, had the ability to request ballots, learn about the parties and their candidates, access classroom resources and campaign tools, and, of course, to cast their votes.

Roughly 20 schools in the Cowichan Valley riding took part with another 10 schools in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding also participating.

While every school’s results differed, the combined results were relatively in line with the Elections BC’s initial results.

Cowichan Valley’s student vote mirrored the real deal with BC Green leader Sonia Fursenau retaining her seat with 49 per cent of the vote. The students had BC NDP’s Rob Douglas in second with 34 per cent and the BC Liberal candidate Tanya Kaul with 18 per cent.

In the main election, in the Cowichan Valley riding, Furstenau earned 45 per cent of the vote with Douglas right behind with 39 per cent. Kaul got 16 per cent.

At Duncan’s Drinkwater Elementary School, roughly 115 students in Grades 4 though Grades 7 participated.

“The children enjoyed the experience,” said principal Brenda Stevenson. “They really adopted a serious manner as they accepted the responsibility of making a choice that they felt would benefit their families and community based on the information they had gathered through the Zoom meetings with the candidates as well as the rich conversations that took place in school.”

Stevenson also said the students gathered information from the newspaper articles, the candidate’s websites and news reports so that they were ready to ask questions that really engaged the candidates.

“This vote really helped to increase the children’s knowledge of current events in our area,” the principal said, noting that the children’s topics of interest weren’t much different than many of the region’s informed citizens: homelessness, the opioid crisis, the COVID-19 response, vaccines, and supports for families and small businesses in the area.

“The student vote was a rich opportunity for the students in our school to learn about democracy and how every person — including children — have a voice that can impact our world. This opportunity was especially engaging and informative for those students who are new to Canada.”

In Nanaimo-North Cowichan, the student vote differed from the preliminary results of the main election.

In the student vote Chris Istace and the BC Green Party took the top spot overall with 42 per cent of the votes while Doug Routley’s BC NDP party garnered 32 per cent. The remainder went to Duck Paterson’s BC Liberal Party.

Routley, of course, won the riding with 47 per cent to Istace’s 31 per cent and Paterson’s 21 per cent.

All told, more than 86,100 students took part in the annual student vote with the ultimate winner being the BC NDP Party with 40 per cent of the votes, taking 65 per cent of the seats. Up next was the BC Greens with 28 per cent of the votes, good for 19 per cent of the seats and the BC Liberals with 26 per cent of the vote and 12 seats.

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