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A Beginner's Guide to the 43rd Canadian Federal Elections

Maryam and Nivaal Rehman | Toronto, Canada

Source: Canadian Debate Production Partnership

The Canadian election is coming up, and it is essential for you to participate, and have your voice heard through voting. If you can vote, you should try your best to be informed, and exercise this right. During the campaign season, it may be hard to navigate through all of the promises and announcements that are being made, the continuous media coverage, the attacks made on other parties, etc. We really want you to be able to make an informed decision this year, especially if you are a first-time, undecided voter. This article can serve as a “beginner's guide” to help you navigate through this election season.

1. Pick three issues that matter most to you

There are so many issues that parties will be talking about and committing to resolve if elected. Also, your views may not align with all of the policies outlined in a specific party platform. For this reason, it’s a good idea to start with a key set of issues that matter most for you, and look out for ways that each party hopes to address them. This will allow you to be able to set a benchmark for commitments you’re looking for, and also provide a base point for comparison between each party.

2. Give your local candidate a chance, don’t just consider the party alone

In our parliamentary system, we vote for our local representatives, and the party with the most members elected to the House of Commons forms the government, the leader of the Party being the Prime Minister. In this scenario, you have two options to consider. Some people, vote for their local representatives based on the party they are running for. Of course, you consider what the candidate personally stands for, but the party matters more. Other people, are more concerned with what the individual candidate commits to doing once elected, how they hope to represent your community. You should consider both options, and we believe that perhaps it is more important than the party, to consider which candidate will best represent your community. The candidates are mostly very well aligned with their parties at the Federal level, so the causes they stand for will not be much different, but you should still evaluate individual candidates. Ultimately, they will be your voice in parliament, and you want to make sure that you are choosing someone who will represent your voice most authentically.

3. Follow along different news sources

When we talk about making informed decisions, we mean getting the right information. Once you decide which issues matter to you, have researched your local candidates and want to begin looking at the broader party platforms, you need to look at different news sources that report nationally. A good place to start your research is this awesome platform guide by Maclean's (which is being updated as the election campaign progresses) - providing information on where each major political party stands, divided by major issues concerning Canadians:

You can check out this Party Platforms Guide by CBC News as well, which also compares Party Platforms, separated based on their policies/promises for pressing issues this election:

There is so much media coverage being done on the election, and this can be both beneficial and make it more difficult to navigate through the election. We recommend considering multiple sources of print, television and social media coverage, as well as pages for political parties themselves. You may want to follow along on Twitter, but make sure you verify information being shared there on news sites. Below are links with news sources, along with political party-specific factsheets and campaign pages for you to consider.

News Sources to Follow:

CTV News:

Huffington Post Canada:

Globe and Mail:

Toronto Star:

National Post:

Campaign Pages to Pay Attention To:

Liberal Party:

Source: @BeingOurFuture Instagram

Conservative Party:

Source: @BeingOurFuture Instagram

Green Party:

Source: @BeingOurFuture Instagram

New Democratic Party:

Source: @BeingOurFuture Instagram

People’s Party:

Source: @BeingOurFuture Instagram

For FAQs, information on how to vote, and updates, visit the Elections Canada Website. This website is very user-friendly, and has all the information you need to know to be able to vote on October 21st!

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