Do Millennial Canadians Even Care About Their Own Election?


The United States presidential election is still over a year away, but for the last six months, candidates hoping to run for president have been making the news every day. You ask anybody in the States about the upcoming 2016 election, and they can probably at least tell you that Donald Trump is running or that Hillary Clinton is a shoo-in. If you asked any Canadian a few months ago about the October 19 prime minister election, well, you would have mixed results.

Let’s put it this way. Up until the beginning of the summer, I didn’t even know there was an election for the prime minister happening this fall. Is that because of my own ignorance? Probably, but I’m used to a very different environment. All over Facebook I see Americans lobbying for the Republican or Democrat they think should just run for president. The actual Canadian election is in less than two days and I see no Canadians posting about who they want to become prime minister.

Back in July, I asked my roommates a simple question: how long is each term the prime minister serves? They didn’t know. Two Canadians who have lived in southern Ontario their whole lives could not tell me. I even asked a few people I work with, and only one of them could tell me how it works. This is very different from the States’ elections. Even everyone in Canada knows that the president is elected every four years. It is almost common knowledge. In contrast, I had to speak to multiple people to find out that a prime minister term is basically five years.

In a lecture last week, my professor asked the class if anyone was informed on the upcoming election. One person, out of 30, raised their hand. No one seems to know anything significant about this election.

The question boils down to this. Everything I’ve seen points to the election really not being at the forefront of the mind of the average U of T student. Am I missing something? Or is the election really just not that big of a deal to most people? If that’s true, would we even vote come October 19?

Let us know in the comments below.

A Quick Note about the Bigger Picture



My Midterm Mantra: “This is nothing in the grand scheme of things.”

A lot of the time, it’s easy to think that a certain test or assignment will define your education. But it’s important to remember that one bad test will not change who you are or drastically change your life. During midterms, I put in 100% effort, but what I see on the faces of my fellow students is, for the most part, not determination or the acceptance that their best is going to be good enough. What I see instead is usually a mix of fear, stress, and anxiety. Remember that that all-important test or assignment is not what defines your education. Celebrate your successes and learn from your failures. Because really, in the grand scheme of things, that test is a miniscule challenge on one day of one month of one year, and you will get past it.

Dinner, Family, and the Things That Matter: My Family’s Thanksgiving Tradition

When the air crackles with autumn’s cold, when the leaves blush, when the nights grow longer, or when the wool sweaters emerge, I know it’s time. Every October, around Thanksgiving, my family visits St. Jacob’s Farmers’ Market, located just outside of Kitchener.

Growing up in Europe, my parents didn’t have Thanksgiving. Instead, they had Harvest Day. On this day, families grabbed bushels, bags, and buggies and descended on their local farmers’ market to buy the fruits and vegetables they would can for the winter.

The Friday before Thanksgiving, Mom bakes her cinnamon chocolate Bundt cake. We stash shopping bags, a trolley, an empty picnic basket, and a car fridge into the trunk.

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Dear First-Year…

Seek out meaningful experiences.
As much as our educational system emphasizes the importance of academics, we can get so focused on our textbooks and syllabi requirements that we forget to take the time to delve into the extracurricular activities that UTM offers.

As a first-year student in 2011, I chatted with other students who occupied the nearby seats in my classes. I didn’t go to Frosh, so how else was I going to make friends? But in classes of 500 students, we lost track of one another during the semester. And no conversations lasted beyond, “What program are you in?” or “What other classes are you taking?”

Thanks to orientation week, I now not only have friends, but a family at UTM. As a Lebanese-Syrian student, the Middle Eastern Student Association stood out in the crowd of clubs.

“I’ll give it a shot,” I thought as I wrote my name on the sign-up sheet.

Two months later, I decided to go to one of their events. I walked in with my high school best friend, unsure of what to expect. Ten minutes later, I spotted a familiar face and quickly approached her. That girl remains one of my best friends today.

I began to volunteer for MESA and I met a lot more people. I joined discussions. I pitched ideas for events. I grew confident in myself. I developed my skills. I enjoyed every event and I wanted to spread that joy to every newcomer in the club. I became passionate about helping others and enhancing the student experience.

In 2012, I became an executive on the team.

University is a unique ground for pushing yourself to experiment with ideas and actions that you’ve never comprehended before. Get involved. Take your interests and develop them into something more meaningful for yourself. Academics are vital, but so is your well-being. Practice balancing your schedule with other activities that interest you. Try out for a sports team, volunteer, or perhaps find a club to participate in. Don’t be shy to meet new people. You never know where these connections could lead you. Challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone, because that’s when true change occurs. It’s never too late to discover what you’re passionate about. After all, isn’t university a time for us to further discover ourselves?

UTM the Good Place

Allow me to be blunt with you: I hated UTM when I started here.

The constant construction, the unseen community of clubs and groups, the unattended pub nights, the commuter-campus vibe—I literally hated almost everything about UTM.

But looking back, I don’t think I had an accurate perception of this school. In fact, I think a lot of it was skewed by my own negative mindset and refusal to accept change (except the construction—ugh!).

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Tip of the Iceberg: the Value of a Theoretical Education

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

When people ask me what I’m studying, sometimes I just want to answer “everything”. I don’t say that because I’d probably come off as sounding pretentious and because I don’t think people want to deal with my  opinions on education.

At UTM, I study commerce, broadly. No, that doesn’t mean that I study money or how to get rich quick. My area of study can cover anything from how businesses run to how to keep the Canadian economy from self-destructing.

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