Do you ride the bus? Do you like having your garbage picked up? Do you want to pay less rent for your apartment? Do you like the fact that you can call 911 and receive emergency services? Great. Then municipal politics matters to you.
As a Dalhousie student, you presumably live in this glorious city for eight months out of the year. This means, you actually spend more time relying on the services of Halifax than wherever else you hail from. So on October 15th, vote.
October 15th marks Election Day for the Halifax Regional Municipality, and to qualify to vote as a student voter, you only need to have lived in Nova Scotia for six months, and be a resident of Halifax the day before October 8th.
This means that the majority of second, third and fourth year students are eligible to vote, and also a lot of first year students too if you’re from Nova Scotia. Even if you can’t vote, this election should matter to you.
Students are affected by municipal issues everyday. This is especially true at Dalhousie, where many students commute to school. These issues include parking, public transportation, bike lanes, quality of sidewalks and snow removal (RIP the icy winter from hell of 2015, may we never meet again).
We know that students care about these things because of the amount of complaining that goes on about the lack thereof in the city. It’s one of the oldest sayings, but it’s true, “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain”.
Luckily, even if you don’t vote and you live in this city for school, councilors still kind of have to care about why you’re upset. And if they don’t, they run the risk of being swept up in the great power of public shaming on social media.
Almost every candidate in this election has a website, a Twitter account, a Facebook page, even some have went full millennial and got Instagram pages. These candidates are not putting themselves out there on these mediums because they’re hoping that the folks at Northwood will sauce them some “likes”. If you haven’t figured it out yet, they’re trying to reach you!
If you don’t believe that any candidate this election wants to see the student vote increase, then contact them. Call their campaign office, even DM them on Twitter. They will get back to you because, to a lot of politicians, reaching out to youth can be a bit of an enigma.
The people who run for council care enough about the city that they’re putting their name on a ballot, going to doors, and trying to figure out what will make the Halifax Regional Municipality a better one than yesterday.
Students bring life to Halifax every September, and with this mass flow of young people coming here every year, it’s time we started using our voice to help shape the city.
This is an entire generation of future engineers, doctors, urban planners, architects, lawyers, writers, political policy wonks; we could be an invaluable source to help jumpstart the ideas of greener communities, promotion of small businesses, and building a more vibrant Halifax.
I’m not saying that we’re as smart as we sometimes think we are, but I am saying that youth can be a stronger force for positive change than we seem to realize. If you are passionate about affordable housing, ending poverty, or even just having your Metro bus actually arrive as scheduled, then this municipal election matters to you. So, vote.
To know if you are registered to vote, please visit www.halifax.ca/election.