Young locals active on federal campaign trail

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
Young locals active on federal campaign trail
From left, Rebecca Sorrell-Forrester and NDP candidate Kelsey Schmitz. Submitted photo.

ONTARIO – Young adults from across the region are actively getting involved in the federal election campaign trail, helping place signs and taking part in door knocking leading up to voting day on October 21.

Rebecca Sorrell-Forrester, who has been assisting local NDP candidate Kelsey Schmitz, said she is having great conversations going door-to-door and has come across many undecided voters.

“People have been really positive about the prospect of dental care, it seems to be something that is on a lot of people’s minds, and access to prescription healthcare as well,” said Sorrell-Forrester. “People are happy to hear that Kelsey is a strong advocate for the environment.”

Sorrell-Forrester said that no volunteer task is too small to help, from answering questions at the door or over the phone, to ensuring voters have transportation to the polls on voting day and spreading awareness on social media.

“I love it. I have volunteered on every election campaign since 2007, provincial, federal and municipal,” she said, encouraging everyone to actively support their candidate of choice.

Similarly, South Glengarry Councillor Sam McDonell has been enjoying his time supporting local CPC candidate Eric Duncan, taking on the role of a co-Manager.

“I’ve been loving it, it has been a really good experience, very good learning experience,” said McDonell.

McDonell has seen a lot of focus on senior policy and an interest in federal infrastructure funds coming back into the riding, reflecting on the Benson Centre and new Seaway International Bridge construction when the Conservatives were in power.

McDonell is happy to work with a great group of volunteers and has noticed an influx of interest from young adults in the area, including many who have returned home from university.

“For (our party) specifically, our riding association has a number of young individuals that are involved,” he said. “As you look on social media, there’s a bit of an uptake of people paying attention (to federal politics).”

Ally St-Jean is acting as the Get Out To Vote Chairperson for Liberal candidate Michelle Boileau in Timmins-James Bay, where Boileau also acts as a municipal Councillor. After arriving in the riding on September 23, St-Jean has taken on various roles, enjoying her conversations with residents from door-to-door. She has noted many residents concerned about climate change, provincial cuts to tree planting and many want to see something different.

“It’s going really great, I feel confident having an incredible candidate to be behind,” said St-Jean, noting that the riding has been represented by the same NDP candidate for the past 16 years. In the last federal election, the incumbent received about 2,500 votes more than the Liberal candidate.

“Our candidate has a new perspective and at the doors people want this. (Boileau) is a Councillor…people want a young female representing the francophone community…and she works for Contact North as a Director,” said St-Jean, stating that Boileau has a good understanding of what people want to see on the ground in the area.

St-Jean became more actively involved in politics after attending a youth wing policy convention in 2012, where the Liberal party took policy suggestions and integrated them into election platforms.

“I’m so thrilled with all the candidates running with the party, there’s such a strong united voice…it’s exciting to be in a riding with (an incumbent) but seeing people looking towards a new perspective,” said St-Jean.

“There’s a misconception that elections are determined by national polling…but at the end of the day, it’s about connecting on the ground (in each riding),” she added.

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