Political Perspectives is produced by the students and faculty of Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication, Canada's oldest journalism school.


Greens seek student edge

Posted by cwaddell under Election 2008, Election 2008 Student articles

Jake Williams

Jen Hunter, Green Party candidate for Ottawa Centre, said she is confident going into next month’s federal election.

“This is a riding that can and will elect a Green Party member to Parliament,” said Hunter.

She said fiscal responsibility is the most important part of her message.  

“People know us for the environment and that’s great, but people think we don’t take into account the financial aspect of decisions, and that’s completely untrue.”

Hunter’s campaign has aimed that message largely at students.  

“I need students to vote, because I feel they’re going to vote for us,” said Hunter.

Hunter has worked as a facilitator for the past 15 years and is new to politics.  She said being a relative newcomer, for both her and her party, helps the campaign.  

Most students are curious about what the Green Party offers outside of the environmental issues, said Hunter.

The campaign is focusing on the divide between students with and without debt.  Hunter said she feels students who have completed a degree should be forgiven of their debt.

Hunter said transportation is also an emerging issue that has come from underfunding by the federal government.  She said the Green party solution is a rise in the GST that would go directly into municipalities that deal with those issues.

The Green Party is concerned that it may not get the votes it needs from young voters. Young people may feel strongly about politics, but when it comes time to vote, they just don’t bother, said Anouk Hoedeman, communications director for Hunter’s campaign.

Since 2000, voter turnout has been below 50 per cent among voters aged 18 to 24 according to Statistics Canada.

Hunter’s campaign has organized weekly workshops for students, promoting an active role in the community.  The workshop is called “Great Work Lives Here,” and shows students the positive environmental practices of businesses in the community.

Students ask different local businesses what they are doing to promote sustainability and learn about their different policies and practices.

Ashton Starr, a Carleton University student, said he was surprised to see young people who are not even old enough to vote getting involved.  Starr is also the spokesperson for the CU Greens; an on-campus group affiliated with the party.

“Youth need to realize that everything they do is political.  With environmental issues so prevalent, the air we breathe is political,” said Starr.

Hoedeman said she sees NDP candidate Paul Dewar as the candidate to beat, but said she is hopeful Ottawa Centre residents want change in the form of sustainability.

The candidates from Ottawa Centre will be participating in an all candidates’ forum on Sept. 28, at the Churchill Recreation Centre.

Jake Williams is a fourth year student in the Bachelor of Journalism program at the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University.