Cambridge high school students share their thoughts ahead of June’s Ontario election

For Maya Darcy, the environment is one of her top issues as she wonders who she will vote for in the upcoming Ontario election.

“I don’t want the sun to burn the Earth,” said the recently turned 18-year-old student from St. Benedict’s Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge.

“Definitely the environment, the upbringing, the growth, like for my children – even when I’m older, the things that are happening now are going to affect my children and my grandchildren.”

CBC Kitchener-Waterloo recently visited the Challenges and Changes in Society grade 12 class at St. Benedict’s, taught by Cindy Penner.

Students were asked about their main concerns ahead of the June 2 election. Not all of the students chose to speak to CBC KW, but those who did shared their top issues and explained how they get their news.

Student Candice Rodricks says her main issues are the environment and Indigenous issues, including drinking water. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Candice Rodricks, 18, echoed Darcy’s concerns about the environment and added that the issues facing Indigenous communities are a top priority for her.

“Our generation inherits this world and we inherit this society, and so I think it’s really important that even though we’re not fully grown adults yet, the decisions that our government is making right now [are] is going to affect our future,” she said.

“I think it’s really important to make sure you have a voice.”

Mariana Jesus accepted. She turns 18 in May and has already had heated political conversations around the dinner table with her family.

Mariana Jesus says her parents and grandparents are interested in and discuss politics, which also influenced her desire to learn more. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

“I’m a first-generation Canadian and I notice that even my grandparents who don’t live in their home country will stay informed about what’s going on…the political state. And I want that for me because J kind of grew up with it and I want to stay informed,” she said.

Education, a major issue

Education was a priority for some students, including 18-year-old Julia Renner. She said she and her classmates had felt the impact of remote learning, due to COVID-19, and noted that there had been teacher strikes before the pandemic that also had disrupted his education.

“I’m a student now. I’m going to be a student for at least the next four years. I think I could become a teacher. So that’s an important part of my life.”

She said she had a pretty good idea who she would vote for in June.

“My political stance is very similar to my parents’, really. So I’ve been pretty determined on that for a while,” Renner said.

CBC KW recently visited St. Benedict’s Catholic High School to talk to students about their top issues in the upcoming provincial election. Pictured are students Julia Renner, Rebecca Reeve and Tara Lade, left to right. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Madeleine Eggleton, 18, said she was looking forward to voting.

“I think it’s important for young people to vote. You know, we’re, like, the future,” she said with a bit of a laugh before getting serious about her main issue.

“My biggest concern is probably education and making sure I get a good post-secondary education,” she said.

“I just want to make sure that my college experience is authentic and that I’m learning to the fullest of my potential.”

Madeleine Eggleton says she’s not sure politicians listen to young people. “But I think they focus more on what the parents want because those are the people who can vote them in and out.” (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Source of information

When asked where they get their information about politicians and their promises, students said it was often via social media apps like TikTok or Instagram, but also their friends, parents and media outlets. information.

Rebecca Reeve, 17, said she sometimes watches the news with her parents.

“I try to stay informed. I feel like a lot of things are really confusing,” she said. “I find it a bit overwhelming because there’s so much to take in. And I feel like it’s all thrown at you at once.”

Her friend, Tara Lade, 18, said she considers herself to be “quite politically active” and in the know.

“I try to keep myself informed and I have opinions,” Lade said. “I think it’s a privilege to be able to vote and I really want to take advantage of it. I come from a family that really encourages me to vote and has encouraged me to vote for a few years now.”

Students excited, nervous about voting

Morgan Barillari, 17, said she was excited to possibly vote.

“I’m thrilled to be 18 because I’m a little excited to vote. I think the reason for that is I want to start learning more about politics.”

Morgan Barillari says she’s interested in learning more about the voting process and what the various candidates have to say. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

That’s partly because she says she’s passionate about how victims of sexual assault are treated, but it’s an issue she says is largely ignored.

“I have the impression that the government does not pay enough attention to how to take care of [for victims of] sexual assault, as a therapy. And I feel like they should pay more attention to it.”

For Cadee Wilson, who turns 18 next month, understanding politics has been important to her in a recent relationship where her boyfriend had more conservative and traditional values ​​than her.

“I felt the need to push my opinion a bit because I find sometimes people are more biased towards their political views,” she said.

“I think we need to be able to freely share our own political opinions with everyone and have a choice, that’s why I think voting is really important.”

Kelsey Taillon, 18, said she believed she had made up her mind about how she would vote, but still wanted to know more about the different parties and candidates.

“I want to make sure I’m voting knowingly in the right decision. For example, 100% sure before I go to vote. And sometimes I think things can change just before I vote,” a- she declared.

Ava Castro says she has friends who are politically minded and talk about the issues, and she has friends who don’t talk about them at all. She says some of her friends are afraid to voice their opinions for fear someone will argue with them or tell them they are wrong. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Ava Castro will not be able to vote in June, but will turn 18 in time for the municipal elections in October. She admitted feeling stressed about voting.

“Of course, I would like to be more educated and know more about when I vote, and voting excites me because it feels like a coming-of-age accomplishment,” she said.

“But at the same time, it feels like an obligation. Even if you don’t have to [vote]it seems like people are saying you have to or you’re not giving to our society and you’re not giving to our country and that makes me really nervous.”

Craig Norris, host of CBC KW’s The Morning Edition, speaks to students in a Year 12 class on challenges and changes in society at St. Benedict’s Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)


CBC Kitchener-Waterloo wants to hear your top concerns in the June 2 provincial election. Please complete the form below. If you would like to be contacted by a journalist or be part of a panel of voters on the radio, please leave your contact details.

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