At the polls: Ryerson students weigh in

Climate change, cuts to tuition and more: as Ryerson students headed to the polls last week for advance voting, many said there were a number of issues impacting their vote this year. 

Between Saturday, Oct. 5 to Wednesday, Oct. 9, advance polls were set up by Elections Canada on university and college campuses across Toronto for individuals to cast their vote. Students at Centennial College, George Brown College, Seneca College, University of Toronto (at their downtown and Mississauga locations), York University and Ryerson had a chance to cast their ballot early. 

At Ryerson, there were long lines at the Student Campus Centre as students took advantage of the opportunity and voted from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. With four major political parties in the running to be prime minister, we asked Ryerson students which issues would be impacting their decision to vote this year.

A female speaking into a megaphone.

Taylor Deasley, a third-year politics and governance student, says the issues that matter to her most encompass similar themes.

“I want to vote for someone who values community. I care about togetherness, inclusivity and if everyone’s allowed to be a part of something. Human rights, cooperation and compassion and involvement.” 

A group of students sitting outside a campus building.

Deasley, along with her peers from Ryerson VOTES, a non-partisan voter engagement campaign which is also a part of Ryerson’s Faculty of Arts’ Democratic Engagement Exchange, offered free chocolate and information pamphlets outside the Student Campus Centre, to encourage students to vote as early as possible. 

A female standing in a park.

Katherine Duff, a second-year student, says issues around university and post-secondary funding are the most important for her this election. 

“The OSAP funding, for example, is a really big issue that I think a lot of students are upset about. The Ford government has completely obliterated OSAP and the Student Choice Initiative, which seems like an attempt to quiet the university campus which is really important for democratic organizing,” said the criminology student. “The prioritization for healthcare, education and even the TTC, are important too. But I would have to say that the OSAP thing and the post-secondary education funding. Not just the funding for OSAP, but for the university itself, including its employees would be the most important to me.” 

A male waiting in line to vote.

Joshua Wallace, a first-year masters student in the public policy and administration program, said each leader’s stance on climate change is key when casting his ballet. 

“I think we’re coming up on an important change in the world. Everyone is collectively deciding that we need to do something about climate injustice, and I think it’s important for all of us to consider all of our leaders’ platforms on this issue.” 

A female waiting in line to vote.

Jenifer Dao, a first-year fashion design student also thinks climate change, as well as student issues, is important.

“I think it’s really important for youth to vote because it’s our voice that matters. Definitely regarding the climate and where our future as students is headed matter most to me.”

A female smiling in a study room.

Cypress Weston, a second-year business management student majoring in human resources, has a few issues on her mind when it comes to voting.

“The issues that are the most important to me in this election are the parties’ platforms for climate change, health care and education. These are the issues that I believe are the most critical to our future, such as how they’re choosing to deal with climate change and opioid crisis and ones that affect me as a student in terms of loans.”

A female sitting in a park.

Sissy King, a second-year sociology student, believes there’s many issues inspiring people to go out and vote this year. “Obviously, student funding, but also with this election, a lot of environmental issues are pretty important when voting.”

While advance voting is now over, those over 18 can still vote on election day on Monday, Oct. 21. Voters must present one valid government-issued photo ID along with their voter information card at polling stations.

So, get out and vote Canada!

Photos by Kirti Vyas.