The election issues that matter to the YSN team

  • April 27, 2011
Youth Speak News writers Annette Gagliano, left, and her sister Sarah, check out “It’s Your Vote,” a web site which gives youth all the information they need to make an informed decision on May 2.  (Photo courtesy of Annette and Sarah Gagliano)While overall voter turnout among youth may be low, that won’t be the case with The Register’s Youth Speak News team. Those who are eligible to vote plan on hitting the polls on May 2 — and with a wide array of issues guiding their votes.

When Sarah Gagliano goes to the polls on election day, her choice will be guided by her faith.

“I try to see all of the issues through a faith lens,” said Gagliano, a third-year life sciences student at the University of Toronto. “Faith should be lived out and help form our outlook on the world. Being critical of the platforms involves testing these proposals against ideas in the faith.”

Preferential option for the poor, the common good, justice, dignity and peace are some aspects of Catholic social teaching that she keeps in mind when looking at the issues that matter to her: education, health care, the environment and the economy.

For Greg Van Dyk, a second-year humanities student at the University of Victoria, job creation and a strong economy matter most to him, as he’ll be entering the work force in a few years.

For Michael Chen, the increasingly high cost of post-secondary education has struck a chord. Chen, a Grade 12 student at Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School in Scarborough, Ont., will be starting university in the fall.

“I hope to learn for long hours for a future career rather than toiling long hours to finance my expensive learning,” said Chen.

Immigrant rights is another issue that will guide Chen’s vote. He believes more can be done to help migrant workers stay in Canada and contribute to the economy instead of going back to their native lands — where many face hardship or political troubles.

Naomi Leanage said she’ll be taking full advantage of the democracy we are blessed with in Canada — especially in light of the democratic struggles in the Middle East.

Like Chen, Leanage, a first-year media studies student at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto, will be voting for the candidate she feels will help students afford the increasing cost of tuition.

To Jeremy Keong, a third-year English major at the University of British Columbia, the most important issues are those that build up the culture of life: abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage.

“Society is damaged enough by the morally relativistic ideology of the 21st century,” said Keong.

“The government needs to address issues that attack a person’s inherent worth because we are made in the image and likeness of God.”

Social services will be a main factor when Jasmine Liska, an English major at the University of Saskatchewan, casts her vote.

“Tax-funded social services allow all members of our society, in theory, to have equal access to a higher standard of living than would otherwise be possible,” said Liska.

Stephanie Kelly’s main concern lies with the baby boomers.

“One of Canada’s largest demographics is getting ready to retire and some of them won’t be receiving the pensions they deserve,” said Kelly, a third-year journalism student at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B. “A lot of Canadians worked hard for years and shouldn’t be left out in the cold.”

For Annette Gagliano, the environment will be playing a key role in which party secures her vote.

“At the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Summit, Canada received for the fourth consecutive time the ‘Fossil of the Year’ award, given to the country that has made the least amount of effort in pollution reduction,” said the third-year life sciences student at the University of Toronto, citing the fact that Scripture calls us to be stewards of the Earth.

Michelle Walsh is also concerned about education issues, along with poverty reduction, environmental and family issues.

“It’s important to uphold issues that bring glory to God’s design for the world and bring about justice and peace,” said Walsh, a primary and elementary education student at Memorial University in St. John’s, Nfld.

But not all the Youth Speak News writers will be able to cast a ballot on May 2.

Angela Serednicki, a Grade 11 student at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont., isn’t of voting age as of yet. But she also feels the most important issue is the cost of post-secondary education.

For Seon Park, a communications and political science student at Carleton University in Ottawa, the issues that matter most to her are taxation, support of the pro-life cause and the environment.

But Jason Coelho, a Grade 12 student from Brebeuf College School in Toronto, said after watching the debate, he doesn’t really see any change in our country’s future.

“Despite the numerous promises made from party leaders, I doubt there will be any significant changes and I fear that Canada will continue to be run by a minority government.”

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