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Fall 2015 Newsletter

Volume 6

In this Issue

  • Election by the numbers
    1. A few figures that neatly sum up this election.
  • Student vote
    1. An initiative of CIVIX
  • New research
    1. Community engagement and political participation in Canada
    2. Ballots & Belonging:
      New citizens and political participation
    3. Viewpoints on Canadian election:
      Communication, strategy and democracy
    4. Message Not Delivered: The Myth of Apathetic Youth and the Importance of Contact in Political Participation
  • Call for papers
    1. Conference: Youth Political Participation: The Diverse Roads to Democracy

Webinar No. 4

The Inspire Democracy team held its fourth webinar,  “Get ready to vote!”, on September 10.

This presentation is now available for viewing.

If you would like the Inspire Democracy team to organize a webinar for you and your colleagues, please feel free to contact us.

Keep an eye out for other activities and webinars in the months ahead!

Let us know what you’re up to

Have you done any research lately into civic participation among Canada's youth? Let us know and we'll post the results of your work or any useful information on our site.

Call for papers

The conference “Youth Political Participation: The Diverse Roads to Democracy” is seeking participants for this event, to be held on June 16 and 17, 2016, at McGill University (Montréal, Quebec).

The team is seeking proposals dealing with the contemporary challenges of youth political engagement in developed democracies. The conference seeks to further our understanding of how and why youth connect (or do not connect) with the democratic process, and to offer a reflection on policy avenues and guidelines for the future.

For further details, consult the conference's Web page.

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We would love to know what you think. Send us an email.

The 42nd federal general election was held on October 19. Here are a few figures that neatly sum up this election.

Election by the numbers

  • 68.49% turnout (preliminary result)
  • Highest participation rate in over 20 years
  • Nearly three million more Canadians voted in this general election than in the 2011 election
  • Nearly 230 000 election workers
  • 73 568 polling stations
  • 38 campuses, 13 friendship centres and 2 YMCAs took part in an Elections Canada pilot project that allowed over 70 000 Canadians to register and vote at these stations
  • 4 days of early voting
  • 338 ridings following redistribution
  • Nearly 11 million information products were distributed to Canadian voters across the country
  • Our partners published over 500 tweets and 150 posts on Facebook
  • More than 50 organizations worked with Elections Canada to ensure that Canadians knew where, when and the ways to register and vote
  • Over 80 events were organized by 15 contract partners.

The Inspire Democracy team would like to thank all the organizations and stakeholders that shared Elections Canada information during the election period.

We are also grateful to these organizations for developing voter education tools specifically for this federal election:

Student vote

The Inspire Democracy team would like to congratulate CIVIX on another successful Student Vote program!

During National Student Vote Week (October 13 to 16), 922,000 Canadian students cast ballots in over 6,760 schools!

Elementary and high school students across Canada took on the roles of election officials and voted for the federal candidates running in their local riding. Their vote followed a series of instruction and activities focused on the federal government, research into the candidates, parties and issues, as well as dialogue with family and friends.

View the results of this parallel election.

New research

Civic engagement and political participation in Canada

Martin Turcotte (Statistics Canada – 2015)

The first section of this report presents the most recent findings on the participation of Canadians 15 years and older in groups, organizations and associations. The focus is on the types of groups that people participate in and how often they participate.

The second section looks at the prevalence of the various forms of political participation: voting, volunteering for a political party, boycotting or choosing a particular product for ethical reasons, and signing petitions. The data are from the 2013 General Social Survey (GSS) on Social Identity and, for the purpose of comparison over time, from the 2003 and 2008 GSS.

For the full report, click here.

Ballots & Belonging:
New citizens and political participation

Institute for Canadian Citizenship (2015)

Ballots & Belonging, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship's second national study, is an opportunity to see Canadian democracy through the eyes of Canada's newest citizens. Over 2,300 new citizens participated in an online survey and cross-country focus groups. We asked the basic questions: How and why do new citizens participate in the political process, and what does their level of engagement mean? How can we make the process better – for them, and for all of us?

To learn more about this national study, visit Ballots & Belonging.

Message Not Delivered : The Myth of Apathetic Youth and the Importance of Contact in Political Participation

Samara (2015)

The low voting rate among younger Canadians is often viewed as evidence that young people today are more apathetic or lazy than any other generation before. That—more than other generations—they don't care about politics and aren't interested in the world.

“Message Not Delivered” debunks these myths. In this report, Samara Canada—a national charity dedicated to reconnecting citizens to politics—compares political participation and contact rates between citizens and Canadian political leaders across three age groups.

Read the report here.

Communication, Strategy and Democracy

Alex Marland and Thierry Giasson (2015)

Produced by Samara and UBC Press, this collection offers timely and insightful reflections on the 2015 Canadian Federal Election from Canada's leading thinkers and political commentators. Published just days after the election, these short pieces cover a wide range of topics, including youth issues, First Nations' political engagement, political debates, digital technology, microtargeting voters, and much more. These vibrant, informed pieces are written for journalists, researchers, pundits, students, and engaged citizens. 

Consult this Canadian election analysis.