With less than a week to go until the federal election, students at UNB Saint John are voicing their opinions on what they think are the most important issues in this election.
Climate change one of most the important issues
We asked students to let us know what they care about most when they go to the polls this month. The issues on the top of their minds include healthcare, climate change, and the housing crisis.
The environment appears to be the top priority for most student voters. With rising sea levels, heatwaves, and wildfires, posing risks to Canada, students say it’s important for Canada to prioritize a plan to fight climate change. “For me, I need a clear, realistic, and rapid climate change action plan,” one student stated.
Housing crisis worsening
Moreover, the current housing crisis in the Saint John-Rothesay riding is a high priority for UNB Saint John students. Students highlighted the rent escalating in many parts of the city and the need for rent control, and the creation of affordable housing by provincial and federal governments working together. With the climate crisis lingering, students say the housing crisis will become much worse in the future.
Students in favour of universal healthcare expansion, addressing nursing shortage
Many students resonated with the New Democratic Party’s platform of universal pharmacare and dental care, saying that too often, people must decide whether to put food on the table or buy their life-saving prescriptions. Furthermore, access to safe abortions was a persistent issue for students as the topic has been debated between all party leaders. Notably, one student commented that “…it is important for our votes to be more reflected in parliament to see some bigger changes happen,”.
With the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic weighing on the healthcare system, students say it needs to be a priority for their future Member of Parliament to aid the province in the nursing crisis. This comes a week after it was announced that the Ridgewood Addiction Services detox centre on the west side of the city would be closed because of the ongoing need for nurses across the province. Students voiced that healthcare would become even more strained if climate change is not addressed properly.
Student issues need more representation
Many students expressed the need for efficient representation in Ottawa from their Member of Parliament. For many, this meant that student issues being handled with the help of actual students. The topics of student debt forgiveness and the elimination of tuition fees were a high priority for UNBSJ students.
The past two years since the last federal election have significantly affected the student electorate through issues like COVID-19, the climate crisis, and the housing crisis. With 2 million eligible student voters in this election, these issues weigh heavily on the minds of students as they head to the polls on Monday, September 20.