Candidates help teach introduction to politics at Cranbrook school

Candidates coming to TM Roberts Elementary to discuss democracy with students at the very beginning of their political awareness.

The Federal election candidates in the Kootenay-Columbia riding are making a special stop in Cranbrook ahead of Tuesday’s all-candidates forum.

The candidates are appearing at TM Roberts Elementary School in the morning of October 1, to discuss democracy with students at the very beginning of their political awareness.

TM Roberts teacher Bruce McAnerney stressed that the school event is not a debate per se. That political fireworks display will be later Tuesday evening, at the JCI All-Candidates Forum at the Key City Theatre, the event that will have brought them all together in Cranbrook to begin with.

McAnernay said the candidates will take turns discussing the representation and choice citizens can make with different political parties.

“Each candidate gets five to seven minutes saying what they stand for, and why they want to represent our region.”

The TM event takes its cue from Civix, which is a Canadian non-charity that works to build the skills and habits of active and engaged citizenship among students. During election season it organizes a parallel election for elementary, intermediate and high school students around the country.

Read about Civix here

In the first week of October, students will have a chance to vote in their schools. Civix sends the schools ballot boxes and the paraphernalia necessary for an election, and the students vote. Those results gets sent back to Civix headquarters, which holds on to them until after the election. The results then get sent back to the schools, and it can be seen how the student vote aligned with the real results.

Read above Civix student vote here

“When we teach politics at an early age, we tend to nuture politically aware and conscious adults,” McAnerney said. “They will be more knowledgable and informed, so when they get to voting age, it’s not a foreign concept.”

As of press time, five of the seven candidates were confirmed to come before the students — for the NDP, the Conservatives, the Liberals, the Greens, and the People’s Party of Canada. The Libertarian Party and the Animal Protection Party also have candidates contesting the election in Kootenay-Columbia.

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