As part of Canada's Democracy Week 2016, the “Teaching Democracy: Let's talk teacher needs” event was held at the University of Ottawa, in partnership with the Faculty of Education, on September 22. This event sought to help pre-service teachers become familiar with tools and organizations that can help them teach civics in their classrooms. Along with Elections Canada, several organizations took part in this event, including Samara Canada, CIVIX, Elections Ontario and the Library of Parliament. Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand delivered opening remarks at this event, which were streamed live. Listen to Mr. Mayrand's remarks.
Two more “Teaching Democracy” events were also recently held—one at the University of Victoria on November 26 and another at the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) on November 29. Be sure to check our next newsletter for updates on these events!
Over 200 nominators and nominees participated in Samara's Everyday Political Citizen project. This contest highlights local stories about Canadians participating in their democracy. Anybody could nominate someone working towards improving their community.The contest is now closed, and on November 22, 2016, Samara announced the Shortlist for the three age categories (Under 18, 18 to 29, and 30 or older). Visit the website today!
The next provincial election will take place on May 9, 2017.
Between October 29 and November 7, 2016, Prince Edward Island held a plebiscite. Citizens were asked to order five voting systems options by preference. The five options include: 1) the current first-past-the-post (FPTP), 2) a tweaked FPTP system, 3) preferential voting, 4) dual member proportional representation, 5) mixed member proportional representation.
With 52.42 percent of the vote, the majority of P.E.I. electors chose a mixed member proportional representation. Take a look at the helpful guide and video (created by Elections PEI) explaining what a mixed member proportional representation would look like in Canada.
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The myth of apathetic youth has been debunked! Following the last general election in 2015, Samara surveyed Canadians about their experiences during the last electoral campaign. They analyzed survey responses by age group: 18 to 29, 30 to 55, and 56 and older. Some key findings detailed in this report include: 1) young people were more likely to discuss politics compared to older adults, 2) voting has become a more social and shared experience as young voters were more likely to share that they voted, 3) parties contacted older adults more than they contacted young people, with only 52 percent of young Canadians reported being contacted compared with 82 percent of the oldest age group and 4) very few (1 in 5) Canadians did not want to be contacted by political parties. Read the full report to learn more about the myth of youth apathy and how Samara has effectively debunked it with their research.
Which population groups experienced the largest increases in voter turnout between the 41st and 42nd general elections? Statistics Canada uses supplementary questions added to the Labour Force Survey after the last general election to assess these changes in detail. This report lends focus to youth, whose participation rates increased faster compared to older adults. This report also explores the voting rate increase among Aboriginal people (First Nations living off-reserve, Métis and Inuit), recent immigrants, and youth with varying levels of education. Read the full report to learn more about the intricacies of these voting trends and for helpful visual representations.
This report presents estimates of voter turnout by various demographic groups defined by age and gender, at the national, provincial and territorial levels for the 42nd general election, held on October 19, 2015. Tables of the detailed estimates presented in the report, along with their associated statistical margins of error, are also available. In 2015, the overall federal voter turnout based on eligible electors increased to 66.1% from 58.5% in 2011. This change is driven by stronger participation by youth aged 18–24 (18.3 percentage points), voters aged 25–34 (12.3 percentage points), 35–44 (7.4 percentage points) and, to a lesser extent, those aged 75 and over (7.1 percentage points). The remarkable increase in the two youngest groups is unprecedented!
We’ve added many new tools and resources to Inspire Democracy. Here are just a couple.
Youth voter rates increased by nearly 20% in the last federal election. Apathy is Boring is seeking to maintain this momentum so that this trend continues into future provincial elections. In collaboration with Elections Alberta, they have created three helpful tools that will keep the conversations about voting and civic engagement going between provincial elections:
Samara has created an educational video explaining the day-to-day responsibilities and challenges of members of Parliament (MP). At just under 5 minutes long, this video follows Priya, a recently elected MP, who takes the viewer through her typical day in Ottawa.
A screenshot taken from “A Day in the Life of a Member of Parliament” created by Samara Canada.
This American organization has created four useful and concise fact sheets on several different areas of interest: 1) Benefits for Voters: the benefits that voting has for the elector, 2) Benefits for Nonprofits: how electoral engagement helps build stronger nonprofit organizations, 3) Voting and Health: the health benefits connected to voting and 4) Who Votes Matters: the ways in which non-voters affect public policy and issues of importance to nonprofits. These fact sheets are useful for organizations who wish to encourage electoral participation among youth and other key groups.
Following the 2014 midterm election in the United States, Nonprofit VOTE released a report “Engaging New Voters: The Impact of Nonprofit Voter Outreach on Client and Community Turnout,” which evaluates the potential of non-profit service providers and community-based organizations to increase voting in the election. Read this report to learn more about how can non-profit and community-based organizations make a real impact on voter turnout. These findings can help your organization too!