The election is over, Justin Trudeau is being sworn in as Prime Minister as our latest issue hits stands, and Sheila Malcolmson is gearing up to establish NDP plans as Nanaimo’s new MP. So what are Nanaimo’s youth partisan groups planning to do?


Arjan Manhas with Justin Trudeau at the Port Theatre in May 2013. Photo courtesy Arjan Manhas

“We want to keep engaging youth that have Liberal values,” said Avi Dixit, member of the Young Liberals of Nanaimo. “We want to continue with the idea of positive politics, and stay present.”

The Young Liberals are a nationwide partisan group not associated with the university’s students’ union.

“We worked with Tim Tessier when he was running to be Nanaimo’s MP,” said Arjan Manhas, who is also a member of the Young Liberals of Nanaimo. “I was Tim’s Facebook Manager, and Avi helped campaign with youth.”

The group also plans to get more youth in the area involved and meet once a month to socialize and talk about politics, as well as arising federal policies. The organization has ties with VIU’s Political Society Club and will meet with them to plan events.

“The stakes were high for youth before the election, but they still are now,” Manhas said. VIU’s NDP Club is also planning to stay involved with their party.

“A few ideas thus far include working with the VIU Political Society to have ‘meet your MP’ events a couple of times a semester for students to voice their concerns and issues to our member of parliament [Sheila Malcolmson],” said club chair Trevor Dickinson. “We want to work on student policy ideas to present to the federal NDP, and have social democratic movie nights and fundraising for local charities that align with NDP values.”

Both groups agreed that youth involvement in the election was a driving force for change, illustrated by the amount of voters that showed up at the polls at VIU’s student residence.

Resident Life Assistant Manager Kelly Muir said having polling stations on residence helped draw in more voters because it was easy to access. “We had a line up for the majority of the day, beginning in the early afternoon and running right until the end of the polling period,” she said. “We also had confirmation of residence letters prepared in advance, and sent notice to the students about the process. We just made it more accessible to students who may not be familiar with Nanaimo yet. I really think the increase in voters was largely due to the mobilization of students in general across Canada.”

The voter turnout across the country was 68.5 per cent, meaning 17.6 million of 25.6 million eligible voters cast ballots—the highest turnout since 1993. In the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding, turnout was 71.4 per cent, a 6.2 per cent increase from the 2011 federal election.