Federico Carvajal – External Commissioner, York University Grad Students Association
This election, Canadians have a chance to change the course that their country’s taken in the past two years. I think that the chance is real. For students, this issue is education. The NDP is the only party that has a platform that addresses the needs of every centre of society right now. They have a plan to get through these tough economic times by investing in people, by investing in social infrastructure.
I think we’re going to end up with a Tory minority government. But I think that the NDP is going to do quite well. The Liberal party, because of their failure after 12 years in government and their lack of leadership, will decrease in numbers. And the Bloc Québécois will lose a few seats in Quebec.
Hopefully over the next few weeks, Canadians will realize that the Tories have been lying to them all along and throw them out, and we’ll see a different kind of government—maybe even a coalition government.
But first of all: vote. Every student should vote. It’s our future, our money, our taxes, our education. Show up to the debates, and ask the tough questions.
Karine Hébert – activist, Civil Law student representative
Compared to the last election, I think the war in Afghanistan is something that, in the way Canadian people have of seeing it, has totally evolved. There’s more Conservative sentiment. It’s something that we have to be careful with.
The Conservative movement is really getting important, even in Quebec. I would say the Liberal party doesn’t have those big figures. (The) last election was the same, there was nobody really hopeful. Jack Layton is the same, as well.
This year, I think the campaign is more vicious, especially with the Conservative party. This is following the U.S. way of marketing, and the leader is becoming more important than the party and the ideas.
Our politicians and our parties are really right-moving, especially in Quebec. But this is good for the Left, which is getting more united. There’s a popular movement to unify the Left, but not in the major parties, the Greens or the NDP—I don’t think so.
For me, this election is a really bad thing. Especially with the U.S. election, I’m really scared that both countries could get really conservative if McCain and Harper were both elected, which could happen.
Dan Kellar – Member of Anti-War @ Laurier
It’s unfortunate that the left is split within three parties, only because the right isn’t. But it is important for democracy that we do have the choice. If the party doesn’t represent you, you shouldn’t have to vote for them. It’d be good if there was more selection for everybody, including those leaning to the right side of the political spectrum.
I’d like to see a Green majority, but, I mean, realistically, what I think will happen is a Liberal minority. I’m hoping for that more than a Conservative minority, with strong representation from the NDP and Greens, who both have good points and a bit of strength to form a coalition. With more minority governments, we’re going to see parties working with one another, with a lot of different views, not just the monolithic Liberal or Conservative one.
For the NDP to try keeping Elizabeth May out of the debates—“Mr. Democracy, Jack Layton”—it’s an interesting move for them, and I think some NDP voters are going to move to the Greens, and some to the Liberals.
Hamid Osman – President, York Federation of Students
Ending the war in Afghanistan should be the fundamental issue that voters should look at. Taking the money we’ve invested in that war, $490 billion, and investing it into postsecondary education—which we’ve seen—is not accessible or affordable to the majority of Ontarians.
That [war] spending is hurting the social systems in Canada. We can see social program cuts in womens’ organizations. My mom, she owns a daycare. We’ve seen cuts in public childcare itself.
I think it’s gonna be a Conservative minority government, with the Liberals losing seats, NDP gaining seats, Conservatives also gaining seats, and the Greens still with zero seats.
We’ve seen the Harper government put bill after bill through trying to push for an election, and each time the Liberals, because they weren’t tactically ready for an election, agreed. That’s where the people who would typically vote Liberal see that the leadership in the party is giving their votes to Conservatives.
The more important thing is not what happens on Oct. 14, but what happens after, moving forward to the next two-to-four years. We see MPs talking to their ridings for three or four months before an election is called, but then we rarely see them afterwards.