On 11 June 2014, along with one hundred seventy thousand other students from sixteen hundred elementary and secondary schools across Ontario, MGCI students participated in a mock election. This was done in the wake of the 2014 provincial elections held the next day.
492 students in Marc Garneau voted. In order of popularity, students voted the following.
Ontario Liberal Party: 274 votes
Ontario NDP: 103 votes
Communist Party of Canada: 36 votes
PC Party of Ontario: 21 votes
Green Party of Ontario: 13 votes
Ontario Libertarian Party: 11 votes
Freedom Party of Ontario: 9 votes
Brock Burrows, Independent: 3 votes
Vegan Environmental Party: 3 votes
Sixteen ballots were spoiled, and three individuals declined ballots.
However, students in the rest of Ontario had slightly different results. The Ontario Liberal Party won a majority government with sixty two seats. The official opposition formed was the NDP, with thirty three seats. The PC Party of Ontario was elected into eleven seats, and the Green Party of Ontario won one seat.
Leaders Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath were elected in their respective districts. However, PC party leader Tim Hudak, and Green party leader Mike Schreiner lost in their electoral districts in the student elections.
This was part of a program called Student Vote, which is run by an organization named CIVIX with the help of Elections Ontario. This program has held nine mock elections in Ontario parallel to the real provincial and federal elections. The format of these elections are nearly identical to the actual elections. Student ballots are counted and the results are released soon after the official election results are announced.
In recent decades, the voter turnout for both provincial and federal elections has been in decline, with each younger generation having fewer voters than the previous one. In the last provincial election, a mere 48% of eligible voters submitted their ballots. These mock elections are intended to give Canadian youth experience with voting and exposure to politics before they reach voting age, so that they will be more likely to vote in real elections when they become eligible.
This year’s mock election at MGCI was organized by teachers Mr. Pearce and Ms. Woodley, and was run by volunteers. Mr. Pearce says that exercising the right to vote is “especially important in Canada because it is a democratic system and the government is supposed to be selected by the people. When people don’t vote, the government becomes less and less legitimate.” It is hoped that the mock elections inspire students to learn more about their country’s politics and that they become active participants of society in the future.
Grade 10 student Dylan Magner participated in the mock elections. “I voted because it’s an extension of my obligations as a citizen. Even though I’m not old enough to vote yet, I can still uphold my civil duties by keeping informed and expressing my opinions about our government.”