Halifax Media Co-op

News from Nova Scotia's Grassroots

More independent news:
Do you want free independent news delivered weekly? sign up now
Can you support independent journalists with $5? donate today!

Students Launch Politician Apathy Campaign

Dalhousie Student Union responds to the lack of political feedback on their student platform

by Sarah Slaunwhite

Katerina Stein shows off a shirt made today at the launch of the Politician Apathy Campaign [photo: Sarah Slaunwhite]
Katerina Stein shows off a shirt made today at the launch of the Politician Apathy Campaign [photo: Sarah Slaunwhite]


Students at Dalhousie University are taking action to voice their demands for the upcoming provincial election.

The Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) kicked off its Politician Apathy Campaign Friday afternoon with information booths, pins, stickers, and screen-printing of their logo at the annual back-to-school Dalhousie Carnival.

DSU vice president Aaron Beale told the Halifax Media Co-op that the campaign was “an attempt to undercut the dominant discourse surrounding youth apathy and entitlement.”

The DSU met with Nova Scotia provincial parties prior to the election being called to discuss student issues, explained Beale. The DSU received good, but vague responses during this discussion, he said.

The DSU sent all parties a “Student’s Provincial Election Platform,” which noted the lack of student issues launched in the political platforms. “We put this forward with genuine hope that the parties would listen, but we have not received any response,” said Beale.

The platform includes public policy options for issues surrounding affordability, accountability, and livability.

With year after year of cuts to funding and rising tuition fees, Nova Scotia students face the highest amounts of debt nation-wide of over $35,703.

This is why it is necessary to reallocate funds to provide grants, rather than loans for students, Beale highlighted. The platform outlines that this would be cost-neutral if the graduate retention tax credits are eliminated.

In addition to the burden of debt, loans fall short in their ability to help students to maintain an acceptable standard of living. The student platform outlines rent control and affordable housing as policy options to relieve this burden.

The Politician Apathy Campaign is calling on students, politicians, and members of the community to call out politician apathy toward students' concerns. Beale says students who are politically engaged might not go to the polls because they don't trust politicians to address their concerns, resulting in low youth voter turnout on Election Day.

“We have demonstrated that students are engaged, not apathetic, by how many students show up and participate in days of action” said Beale.

Rebecca Eldridge, a third year student of sustainability and environmental sciences at Dalhousie, and a member of the Dalhousie Action Committee, said she doesn't think students have had enough input in the political process.

This campaign creates a space for students to meet and share their political ideas, she said.

Should there be no change in agenda from the parties, the DSU will continue to promote the election in their platform, and to promote student voting, and will be calling for a day of action a couple of days after the election.

Beale explained that the ultimate aim of the Politician Apathy Campaign is to hold politicians accountable. Through this campaign, students can fight politician apathy by pledging to vote for the party that agrees to the policy options laid out in the students' platform.

The DSU will be hosting numerous events over the next month including a debate between candidates on September 24.

Beale stated that all Candidates in the district have confirmed attendance for the debate, and that an invitation was also extended to the leaders of the parties, but none have confirmed. 


Want more grassroots coverage?
Join the Media Co-op today.
511 words

The site for the Halifax local of The Media Co-op has been archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit the main Media Co-op website to learn more about the organization.