President's Message - The Forty-Second General Election

Dear students and members of the campus community,

As our days gradually get shorter, and with the announcement of Prime Minister Trudeau’s cabinet last week, we continue to reflect on the longest election campaign in modern Canadian history. The forty-second general election made headlines for its duration and many ups and downs, but it was the feat at the finish that motivates my message.

Nationally, voter turnout exceeded 68 per cent—our highest result since 1993—and considering Confederation was born here on PEI, it’s appropriate the Island once again led the country with a robust 77.4 per cent. The youth vote certainly had an impact on this increase. Elections Canada hasn’t released official numbers yet, but the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is predicting a 10 per cent increase in student numbers.

Since the early days of academia, Universities have been where movements are born by citizens who care. Many students here at UPEI worked tirelessly to encourage, remind, and inspire others to vote. Let’s proudly acknowledge this accomplishment.

These are impressive results, but at the end of the day they are just numbers we reflect on once the election concludes. What is behind these numbers, and what follows them in the months and years ahead matter much more.

Elections are just one of countless ways to engage with your community. Expressing your civic voice is a dynamic, ongoing process, not a static moment or isolated action. Voting is part of a greater, broader and perpetual process that is as much a duty as it is a luxury.

If this most recent turnout is the start of a new era in civic and democratic engagement, then we have started to achieve something special and must continue this momentum.

We might be busier and more connected than ever, but it is also easier than ever to stay engaged and aware of what is happening in our town, our province, our country, and our world.

Volunteer. Join groups advancing causes you support. Learn more about topics affecting you or those you care about and bring that knowledge forward. Change never comes for the idle.
To those who voted for the first time on October 19: let it not be your last. To all: let this renewed resolve not be an outlying moment, but a significant step forward to the sustainable, meaningful civic action that real progress requires.

Together, let’s congratulate our recently elected PEI Members of Parliament, Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada; Hon. Wayne Easter, Mr. Sean Casey, and Mr. Robert Morrissey and wish them our best as they represent the interests of Islanders in the House of Commons.

On a closing note and as we near Remembrance Day, it is also a time to be thankful that we have the democratic system that we do in Canada, and to pay tribute to all of those who have so selflessly defended our peace, justice, and freedom. Lest we forget.

Best wishes,

Alaa   

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