By Roman Jakubowski, LUSU President
On Wednesday Oct. 7th we hosted a federal election debate for local candidates called For the Love of Democracy. I’d like to start by thanking the 300+ students who came out on Wednesday Oct. 7th, packed the Outpost, and made the event a huge success.
It wouldn’t have been possible without all of our amazing volunteers (Jessica Tiboni and Brett Gloor, I’m looking at you). It wouldn’t have been possible without our moderator Dr. Laure Paquette, everyone in the LUSU office, and our Communications Officer Trevor Waytowich in particular. Together we spent countless hours tabling and handed out hundreds of invitations.
I’d like to use this op-ed to talk about the relationships I’ve built with the parties. At the beginning of this summer I began working with them to make sure they were courting student votes. I told them I would sit down with them and help them with outreach on campus. I also told them that no matter how low they think voter turnout on campus may be, there are at least 2,500-3,000 votes up for grabs here and there are more undecided voters here than anywhere else in the riding.
Having already spoken with Bruce Hyer several times (he even asked a question on behalf in the house of commons; LUSU is in the parliamentary record now), I met with his staff several times and communicated frequently; I met with Patty Hajdu and communicated with her staff frequently. I invited Andrew Foulds to come meet with me several times. He told me that he would, his campaign manager told me that he would, and he never did. Even Conservative candidate Richard Harvey, who, if we’re being realistic, has very little chance of picking up votes here on campus, sat down and had coffee with me.
My intention was to turn LU into a battleground. I think we’ve done that. John Rafferty, Andrew Foulds, Patty Hajdu, and the Green Party were all in attendance at our Campaign Launch.
The Greens and the Liberals have both hosted events in The Study and invited students to come chat with them. Both of them came to campus and spent multiple days reaching out to students. Andrew Foulds came once and spent approximately two hours here tabling. When it came to the debate, the Greens were on campus all day and the Liberals showed up well in advance as well. The NDP showed up at the last possible moment and Mr. Foulds even remarked that he was “surprised” so many students showed up.
I believe Mr. Foulds would be in a better position to pick up student votes if he had taken the time to meet with me during the summer. Had he spent time here on campus, he likely would not have been so shocked. Students are excited about this election. That’s what we’re hearing on the ground when we table and talk to students. There are still plenty of opportunities for candidates and political parties to show up on campus and we hope they all do. We’re looking for a politician who will work with students; the first step is showing up.
If you’re interested in helping us get out the vote, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org