Journal Roundtable: Federal Election

Gerretsen may surprise 

By Ramna Safeer

After the thick wave of red that swept over Canada on the night of the 19th — a turn I don’t think even the Liberals predicted — we might be surprised by Kingston MP-elect Liberal Mark Gerretsen’s fresh approach to student issues.

Gerretsen’s term as Kingston’s mayor from 2010 to 2014 proved discomforting after his poor relationship with the city’s heavy student population. 

For instance, during his term, there was a clear lack of tangible moves towards endorsing programs to battle drinking culture, and instead a general tone of reprimand. 

But with Trudeau fever currently gripping the nation — and the significant spike in youth voter turnout — I have a feeling Gerretsen, and other Liberal MPs who oversee youth-heavy constituencies, will be more cognizant of student issues.

Although campaigning politicians, especially in a campaign as long as this one, often make empty promises, it seems Gerretsen is already on the road to admitting his past mistakes and moving forward in a positive light with Queen’s students. 

In an interview with The Journal on the night of his election, he said a focus of his upcoming initiatives with students would be that of “meaningful employment.”

It’s also quite possible that Gerretsen’s past rocky relationship with Queen’s students as mayor may even be beneficial to his approach as MP. 

While in the past he erred in communicating openly with students, his position as a representative of Kingston’s population — of which Queen’s forms a major part — in Ottawa,  will necessitate that he communicate with us once again. 

Perhaps this new onus, paired with his previous mistakes in the same area, will push him to act as a better mouthpiece to Kingston students’ needs. 

Ramna is The Journal’s Arts Editor. She’s a second-year English major.

 

Don't worry, he's on a different level

By Mikayla Wronko

If you’re a student who’s worried about Mark Gerretsen as an MP, I wouldn’t fret. 

Gerretsen’s election will have minimal meaning for students, as his relationship with Kingston’s student population is on a federal level, no longer a municipal one. 

I doubt Gerretsen will bring the happenings of Aberdeen and William this Homecoming to the attention of the House of Commons. To Gerretsen, we’ll be out of sight, out of mind and Queen’s students will be those pesky rascals he once had to deal with.

I understand that being elected MP is a big deal, but Gerretsen campaigning and winning as a Liberal in Kingston isn’t exactly a monumental feat. The Liberals have held the Kingston and the Islands riding for 27 years and the second round of Trudeaumania that happened on the national level certainly didn’t hurt the campaign. 

The Liberals could have put forth a cardboard cut-out of Gerretsen and still potentially won the Kingston and the Islands riding. Saying that campaigning in Kingston as a Liberal is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel is an understatement. 

Though Gerretsen took the election, Nathan Townend, the Green Party candidate, was held back by his membership this election. 

While I don’t necessarily relate ideologically to his politics, having interviewed him and seen him perform at the AMS debate, I think Townend was the most intelligent, capable candidate in this election for Kingston and the Islands.

If Townend were to cross the floor and campaign under a party that holds more than one seat, he could be fantastically competitive in a future election.

Mikayla is one of The Journal’s Assistant News Editors. She’s a second-year Economics major.

 

Focus on voter turnout

By Victoria Gibson

While the outcome of the 42nd federal election is worth discussion, the behavior of voters in this election should be applauded above that of any candidate.

The voter turnout was the highest Canada has seen since  the 1993 election. 

According to Elections Canada, preliminary results indicate that 68.5 per cent of eligible Canadians voted in advanced polling, a 71 per cent increase from the election in 2011.

A part of this change can be attributed to youth participation. Campus polling stations saw 42,000 student votes cast in advanced polling.

This enthusiasm was certainly not lacking in Kingston. 

The political involvement of Queen’s students was a welcome change. 

Despite the drizzly local weather, students walked, bussed and biked to the polls in swarms. 

The subsequent shift in government was dramatic. 

Though the Liberal candidates in the Kingston and the Islands riding have historically been successful, at the national level Canada crossed the spectrum entirely and moved from a majority Conservative government to a Liberal majority.

The 2015 election turnout re-affirmed that the physical act of voting can garner a prominent change in leadership. 

The promise that student votes hold genuine weight to alter the way our country is governed is a necessary and positive reinforcement for democratically responsible action — regardless of where your views align politically.

Victoria is one of The Journal’s Assistant News Editors. She’s a third-year English and drama medial.

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