CBC News Federal Election

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Students choose Conservative minority

Students at Hillcrest Community School in Toronto line up to vote in Student Vote 2006.
Canada�s elementary and high school students have voted for a Conservative minority government that could be propped up by any of the other three major parties.

The students, voting in a mock election, handed the Conservative party 128 seats, based on 31.5 per cent of the popular vote.

"(Liberal Leader) Paul Martin didn't live up to his promises," said Richard Harris, a Grade 12 student at St. Mary's Academy in Sherbrooke, N.S. "There was the whole sponsorship scandal thing. You could feel students pulling towards the Conservatives and the NDP."

About 450,000 students from Grades 5 through 12, from every province and territory in the country, took part in Student Vote 2006. Of Canada's 308 seats, 284 were represented.

The NDP came second with 64 seats. The Liberals took 52 seats, and the Bloc Québécois 34.

"We made it as close as possible to a real voting station," said Jordan House, a Grade 12 student who helped organized Student Vote at Fredericton High School. "Some students had no idea about the voting process. We kept talking to a minimum and we definitely didn't allow any party advertising.

House and a group of about 35 of his classmates organized the vote at his school. Some took on the roles of election officials, like invigilators and deputy returning officers. Others became party representatives, and learned a particular party's platform. Two days before the vote, the representatives went from class to class making pitches for the students to vote for their party.

"It was an interesting atmosphere," House said. "Walking down the halls you'd hear groups of students, 'Oh, did you hear the Conservatives want to do this.' I was surprised at how much of that there was."

There were significant regional differences. The Conservatives took all 28 seats in Alberta, and 12 of 14 seats in Saskatchewan.

In B.C., the NDP took 17 seats and the Conservatives took 16. The Liberals were held to a single seat in the province.

In Atlantic Canada, however, the Liberals won 16 of 32 seats, including all four in P.E.I., while the Conservatives and the NDP each won eight.

The Green party won a handful of seats, in B.C., Ontario and Quebec. "It seems like as time goes on, the environment is becoming more and more of an election issue, and the Green Party seems best equipped to deal with it,� Harris said.

Student Vote 2006 was co-ordinated by a non-profit group in Toronto, and funded by Elections Canada and several corporate sponsors. It's the fifth mock election the group has run, since forming in 2003 for the provincial election in Ontario.

The ultimate goal of the program is to increase voter turnout among young voters in real elections. In the 2004 federal election, turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds was 38 per cent.

"A lot of people would be surprised at how informed these young students are," said Stephanie Walker, a teacher at La Loche Community School in northern Saskatchewan.

"Some of the kids were really excited, especially the older ones who would have like to vote for real. They were just disappointed it was a mock election and the results wouldn�t count."

Political Party Abbr. Valid votes Pop Vote Seat Count
AACEV Party of Canada AACEV 23 0.0% 0
Bloc Qu�b�cois BLOC 7,128 1.6% 34
Canadian Action Party CAP 1,316 0.3% 0
Christian Heritage Party of Canada CAH 2,918 0.7% 0
Communist Party of Canada CPC 1,527 0.3% 0
Conservative Party of Canada CONS 139,451 31.5% 128
First Peoples National Party of Canada FPNP 295 0.1% 0
Green Party of Canada GPC 74,044 16.7% 6
Independent IND 5,442 1.2% 1
Liberal Party of Canada LIB 97,050 21.9% 52
Libertarian Party of Canada LPC 533 0.1% 0
Marijuana Party MAP 5,413 1.2% 0
Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada MLPC 2,901 0.7% 0
New Democratic Party NDP 102,634 23.2% 64
No Affiliation NA 306 0.1% 0
Progressive Canadian Party PCP 1,108 0.3% 0
Western Block Party WBP 210 0.0% 0
  TOTAL 442,299 100.0% 284

# # [an error occurred while processing this directive]
ELECTION RESULTSDetails>
1241035129
Total Elected and Leading
CON124036.27%
LIB103030.23%
BQ51010.48%
NDP29017.48%
IND10.52%
OTH005.02%

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