Candidates encourage student engagement at school forum

By Jill Sperling
May 3, 2017 - 3:40pm Updated: May 3, 2017 - 6:33pm

KAMLOOPS — Kamloops-North Thompson candidates had the opportunity to make their platforms known to students at a pair of school forums Wednesday afternoon. 

The first was at NorKam Secondary, where students packed into the library to hear from the four candidates over the noon hour. 

The forum was moderated by students, who asked question submitted by their peers. 

Candidates were asked about their plans for creating jobs in the Kamloops area, what they would do about the doctor shortage, and how they plan to keep post-secondary education affordable for everyone. 

One student said his main concern was the proposed KGHM Ajax mine. 

"For me personally, the environment and especially with Ajax coming in to the local area," he said, adding, "I have asthma, so if the air quality starts to go (down) I can't go outside as much, and I can't enjoy myself in the outdoors, in the environment that I love so much."

Another student was concerned about being able to attend the university program of his choosing. 

"Probably our education system, and how there aren't enough seats in university for people to get educated, like nursing and stuff, it's really hard to get into seats." 

There are around 100 eligible first-time voters attending NorKam Secondary, and many more who will be eligible to vote in Kamloops' next municipal election. 

However, some students worry their peers are uninterested in looking into the political issues that will affect their futures. 

"In general I don't think, unless you're taking a specific law class or a social class, that students are informed," said one female student, "and I think sometimes they think that it's a bother, or it's a little bit too much effort to go and inform themselves, so I think it's important that people come out and kind of promote their ideas." 

"I don't think they're prepared to vote," said another student, "I feel a lot of them are following just how their parents are voting and they're not making an informed decision for themselves. They're doing what they've seen done before. They're not casting their vote for them, they're casting their vote for somebody else."

After the forum at NorKam Secondary the Kamloops-North Thompson candidates attended a second forum at Westsyde Secondary School. 

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