Carli Berry/Capital News Rutland Senior Secondary student Wesley Turcot, 15, casts his ballot during Student Vote, May 9 which aligns with the provincial election.

Election 2017: Students knock premier off her seat

Kelowna West students voted for NDP candidate Shelley Cook in Student Vote

The student voices can be heard loud and clear.

Students in the Central Okanagan elected NDP candidate Shelley Cook to be MLA in Kelowna West, knocking Premier Christy Clark out of her seat in a mock election held Tuesday by students in the region.

Called Student Vote, the mock election is used to teach students about government processes as it aligns with actual elections.

Actual BC election results came in after the Capital News deadline Tuesday. See our web site at kelownacapnews.com for extensive coverage.

In the student vote, Cook took 740 votes and 35 per cent of the riding, while Clark took 32 per cent with 663 votes. Green candidate Robert Mellalieu came in third with 28 per cent and 570 ballots.

The NDP also took Kelowna-Lake Country, as NDP candidate Erik Olesen earned 36 per cent of the votes with 714 ballots, Green party candidate Alison Shaw took second with 34 per cent and 671 votes, and Liberal candidate Norm Letnick earned third with 29 per cent of the vote and 577 ballots.

The Kelowna Mission riding did not have a winner by the time of the Capital News deadline Tuesday afternoon. The actual number of ballots could alter slightly so check studentvote.ca for details.

In most ridings, students reflect their parents’ perspectives in other areas except B.C. said Student Vote director of content Dan Allan.

“Pretty much nine times out of 10, students are accurate except with the provincial elections in B.C.,” he said. “The students in B.C. tend to lean more to the NDP whereas students in other parts of the country tend to lean and shift with the adults.”

At Rutland Senior Secondary, students and teachers are passionate about politics.

Following a practice test, students filled in their ballots in Brent Applegath’s social studies classroom.

“I like to think they’re more informed than their parents,” said Applegath. “Part of our job as social studies’ teachers are to prepare students to be good citizens and that begins with voting. So one of my mandates is to ensure that my students first understand the significance of voting and then I hope, at least 90 per cent of them be votes for life.”

Student Vote started a few years ago at the school, having students follow different elections.

In 2015, the high school students successfully predicted Liberal MP Stephen Fuhr’s win.

“That was really fun,” said Applegath.

Applegath developed a passion for politics at age 12, when Pierre Trudeau stopped in Kamloops and addressed kids.

“That was an electric moment in my life, he was such a charismatic man with the youth. He wasn’t talking to the adults, he was talking to us,” said Applegath, who shares his passion with his students.

Grade 9 student Iain Reid considers himself to be a well-informed voter.

“We’ve learned more or less all the key issues that are important for this election,” he said.

Reid stands with the Green and NDP parties for environmental issues.

“They’re both more people focused than business. For me it’s not important how business works out. I want people to recognize that I have an opinion and I want my opinion to change how the province runs itself,” he said.

One of the main things Reid learned in the class was how a government wins on seats and ridings rather than the number of votes.

Grade 9 student Cassidy Mahoney thinks understanding politics is important because it allows one to have a say in government.

“Even if it’s only one vote I think it counts for that,” she said.

Mahoney learned about the stances of each party; how the NDP and Green parties don’t support the Kinder Morgan pipeline and how the Liberals have a business approach to politics, she said.

“Even if it provides jobs for people, it ruins the environment.”

Both students plan to vote once they turn 18.

For more elections stories click here.

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