West Island teens decide dad's vote in unique family experiment

Beaconsfield dad Jack McDonald challenged his kids to decide his vote on the condition they both agreed on the same candidate. So who did they pick?

James and Julia McDonald reach a decision on early morning drive to CBC

Jack McDonald (centre) let his children Julia and James decide who he should vote for on Oct. 19. (Rebecca Ugolini/CBC)

Two West Island teens have finally decided to tell their father who to vote for in the federal election next Monday.

Beaconsfield dad Jack McDonald and his daughter Julia and son James have wrapped up an unusual voting experiment which saw dad commit to vote for any candidate his two kids chose, as long as they both agreed on the same candidate. 

The problem? James, 15, is a staunch Liberal supporter and his sister Julia, 16, is equally passionate in her support for the NDP.

Their decision was informed by separate meetings with Lac Saint-Louis Conservative candidate Eric Girard, NDP candidate Ryan Young and Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia, who all contacted the family after they were interviewed about their family experiment on CBC Montreal's Daybreak at the beginning of the campaign

The prospect of meeting the candidates was a little unsettling, according to Julia. 

"When we got the call, I found it very intimidating because I was worried they were expecting to see these really smart kids," Julia told Daybreak on Wednesday.

But she found her apprehensions to be unjustified as all three put her at ease. 

"It was if we were discussing one-on-one as friends. It was fascinating."

Jack McDonald will let his teenagers decide which party he'll vote for on Oct. 19. 11:16

But Jack McDonald said meeting the candidates may have made the decision harder for his kids.

"It personalized who the three main candidates were," he said.

Neither teen took the task of deciding lightly, as both consider Canada to be at a crossroads in this election.

"It really matters because it's going to help determine what Canada is as a country," said Julia. 

"This election is going to show if we're going to be more of that humanitarian and helping country, or a more aggressive country. It's really going to shape our future. "

Teens finally choose

After much heated debate, the teens finally set aside their differences while driving downtown in their family car Wednesday morning on the way to the CBC.

The two teens hammered out the consensus requirement needed to decide dad's vote.

Julia shelved her support for the NDP and went along with James' Liberals.

"I'm big on anybody but the Conservatives," said Julia.

"(Liberal) Francis Scarpaleggia seems to be the most popular here, so I decided to go over to my brother's side and support the Liberals."

I decided to go over to my brother's side and support the Liberals.- Julia McDonald, 16

The siblings also cited their meeting with Scarpaleggia as a factor in their choice.

"He was the first person to meet us at a café and he didn't have an assistant with him, so it made it seem that much more personal," James said.

Julia said Scarpaleggia highlighted the Liberal Party's strengths without insulting the other parties.

"I thought that was really interesting, especially since they are his competition."

McDonald said the whole experiment has been enlightening as a parent.

"As a parent, it's been very encouraging that the kids have these views [on election campaigns]," he said.

"I'm very encouraged for the future."


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