Former OLIP interns Emily Barrett and Douglas Wong (2013/2014) returned to Queen’s Park today to educate us on the current work that CIVIX is doing in schools across the country.
CIVIX is a not-for-profit national organization that is committed to engaging youth by holding student budget consultations, arranging mock elections (which parallel official elections), and connecting elected representatives with high school students in order to expose youth to democratic processes first-hand. We learned that the organization prepares elementary and secondary school students to participate in our democratic processes as informed citizens by strengthening their civic education and introducing voting habits early on. This is a particularly important approach, as Emily and Doug informed us that the largest determinant of whether someone will vote in an election is dependent on whether they have voted before. With voter turnout recently reaching a record low, it will be interesting to see what role CIVIX may be able to play in raising citizen participation, especially among youth.
As Doug and Emily just finished their stint as OLIP interns they were also able to give us some helpful advice for the year ahead. Their suggestions closely mirrored tips passed on from other OLIP alumni, including yet another glowing (although controversial!) review in favour of Yellowknife for our winter comparative trip.