April Executive Blog
April 16, 2019, is going to be a big day for Athabasca University students. If you live in Alberta, I am sure you are already aware this date is important becasue it’s the final day to vote in the Alberta Provincial Election. So why does this affect you, as an AU student, even if you are not studying in Alberta?
The answer is that the Alberta Government oversees and funds AU. Changes that affect post-secondary education in Alberta often have a ripple effect on all AU students. A positive example of this is Bill 19, which tied Alberta student tuition to Consumer Price Index (CPI). This change ended up affecting out-of-province students favourably. AU originally wanted to increase out-of-province tuition by 4%. However, since the government capped tuition for Alberta students, they decided to decrease the tuition increase to 2.6% to align with CPI and the regulations affecting Alberta students. The elected government clearly has an impact on your education, which is why we are encouraging students to Get Out The Vote.
Does My Vote Really Matter?
This is a very common question, and in 2015 we got to see the answer. For years students have not been considered active voters. As a result, many politicians did not spend a lot of time focusing on the needs of students. In 2015, students did vote and it did make a difference. Our partner, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), undertook a study after the 2015 Federal election, and the data shows that students made a huge difference in that election. As we have continued our advocacy efforts, we have begun to see all political parties paying more attention to the needs of students.
Individually, you may feel like your one vote doesn’t matter, but in the big picture, it really does. It is your right and responsibility to research who you want to represent you and then get out and vote. If you live in Alberta, we have tried to make your job easier and have included links to the various parties’ platforms below. With that said, I have heard time and time again, “I don’t really want to vote for anyone”. I know that this has been something that I have struggled with in the past. Personally, I find I like some aspects of one party or candidate but then dislike other aspects. It seems to be difficult to find that perfect candidate that you want to vote for.
So, what do you do if you don’t like any of your options? You can spoil your ballot by striking a line through it, leaving it blank, or even write how you really feel about the candidates. Why would you take your time to do this? Spoiling your ballot shows that you have taken the time to review your options and you are not satisfied with any of them. If more people who felt this way took the time to express their dissatisfaction by spoiling their ballot, it would send a strong message to politicians. It is easy to shrug off voters who don’t vote, but it is hard to dispute the results when there is strong voter turnout.
I hope that you take the time to join our Get Out The Vote campaign, either now if you live in Alberta, or in the fall during the federal election to help us show politicians that AU students care about what is being done by our government.
Alberta Advantage Party – https://abadvantageparty.ca/
Alberta Independence Party https://albertaindependence.ca/what-we-believe/
Alberta Party – https://www.albertaparty.ca/position_statements
Freedom Conservative Party- https://www.freedomconservativeparty.ca/platform
Green Party https://greenpartyofalberta.ca/platform-2019/
Liberal Party – https://www.albertaliberal.com/2019_election_platform
New Democratic Party – https://rachelnotley.ca/platform
United Conservative Party – https://www.albertastrongandfree.ca/policy/