Some Halifax university students remain uncertain of vote after English-language debate

In the aftermath of the English-language federal leaders debate, conversations are swirling across university campuses about whether or not the outcome of the debate has led to voters being sure of which party they’ll support.

For some Saint Mary’s University students in Halifax, their decision remains unclear due to much of the debate seeming to highlight political feuding, instead of actual plans to address federal government issues like climate change and economic insecurity.

“I know that a lot of my friends were undecided of who they were going to vote for and it [the debate] didn’t change anything because they didn’t really get to see what they [leaders] all stood for because there was a lot of bickering between them and talking on top of each other,” Olivia Mullen said, a third-year finance student.

READ MORE: Here are 5 heated moments from last night’s federal leaders’ debate

A debate viewing party was hosted at the campus pub as a way to encourage students to engage in federal election discussions and help inform their vote, should they choose to cast one.

“For most of us here at Saint Mary’s it’s probably the first federal election that we’re old enough to actually participate in which I think is huge. So, we’re actually able to get involved,” Liam Jeffers said, a fourth-year political science student.

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Jeffers, along with some of his peers – feel the debate was an opportunity to listen for issues that millennials are focused on this election.

READ MORE: Election debate: a breakdown of false, inaccurate statements leaders made

“I think climate change is really important for youth, affordability is really important for youth,” said Bryn de Chastelain, a third-year political science and economic student.

“But I also think the focus of the debate on diversity was huge as well. Coming from a campus where almost a third of our students are international students, it was really important to hear about how their issues and ideas are going to be respected,” he added.

According to Elections Canada, there are about 27.2 million Canadians who will be eligible to vote this federal election.

READ MORE: Millennials can have a very strong voice in deciding Canada’s future — if they choose to vote

When it comes to what generation could have the greatest impact on the outcome, that power falls with the millennials.

People born between 1980 and 2000 make up the largest voting bloc, according to Abacus, a research and strategy firm that specializes in voting trends.

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That cohort could have a significant impact on election results should they choose to vote. It’s a democratic process these students are encouraging the general public to exercise.

“Take a little bit of time, get informed, feel comfortable with your decision but after that you have a responsibility to yourself and those around you to go out and vote,” de Chastelain said.

-With files from Sharmeen Somani.


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