Global TV launches election road show at York

On Monday evening, Global TV’s “National News” chose to launch its election road show at York before an audience of about 40 students. Gemini Award-winning national anchor Kevin Newman (right) delivered the news of the day, then asked the students about voter apathy and the youth vote.

The show, broadcast from Glendon’s Manor House, was Global’s first of several Real Deal Road Shows scheduled across Canada during the current federal election campaign. It ran from 6:30 to 7pm and reached an audience of 915,000 across Canada.

In addition to about 40 top students from Glendon and Keele campuses, Osgoode Hall Law School Dean Patrick Monahan, Schulich School of Business marketing Prof. Alan Middleton, Glendon Dean Ken McRoberts and law Prof. Bruce Ryder took part.

York media relations director Nancy White (below, standing at left) said the show gave York students a chance to participate in a national dialogue on election issues. During the 30-minute broadcast, Global aired a black-and-white clip of former prime minister Lester Pearson officially opening Glendon, York’s original campus, in 1961. Global also showed students studying in the TEL Building. “Global producers approached several universities to launch this series. They chose York for the diversity and  political awareness of our students and faculty, and for our enthusiasm to participate,” said White.

In between news items, Newman flung questions at his audience. What would motivate them to vote? Why aren’t you angry about corruption? What issues matter to you? Would you vote if you could do it over the Internet?

After the show, Shamini Selvaratnam, of the York Federation of Students, said, “It’s important to engage young people because not a lot of young people are voting.” She added,  “For the people watching, Global did a great job in a limited amount of time to pose a number of questions like why the young don’t vote, the issues that matter and changing the voting system.”

Newman’s first question was why one in 10 young people between the ages of 18 and 34 had trouble identifying an election issue other than health care. “Because they have no faith in the process,” answered Melissa Romulus (right with mike), a fourth-year international studies student from Glendon. “Is there no rage?” demanded Newman. “Where’s the anger?” Romulus said she didn’t really see how politics affected day-to-day life.

What about corruption? asked Newman. “Why aren’t you concerned with corruption?” Erin Marie Hutchinson (right, centre front), a third-year English and creative writing student, said there’s so much information coming from so many different directions. “Students are trying to figure out who stands for what,” she said. “It’s difficult. There’s just so much.”

What would it take to get more young people to vote? Before anyone could answer, viewers were treated to the 44-year-old clip of a ribbon-cutting Pearson and Newman’s observation that in those days 65 per cent, not 40 per cent, of eligible young people cast ballots. Would the young vote if they could do it by Internet or if it were made mandatory, as in Australia? wondered the news anchor, then showed Glendon student actors tackling the issue in a play.

What kind of message would motivate young people? One of “trust, relevance and convenience,” said Alan Middleton, a marketing professor with York’s Schulich School of Business. Students would vote if the platform were about university tuition fees, or wages and working conditions and issues that concerned young people, said Elizabeth Saati, a first-year law student.

Right: Marketing Prof. Alan Middleton waves finger. He is seated next to Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts.

Asked about whether voting by Internet would make a difference, Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said there are dangers with verifying ID and voter confidentiality. Most audience members raised their hands when Newman asked if they would vote by Internet.

What would it take to interest you in this election? Newman asked. Catherine Nowak, a first-year law student, had the last word. “I would like to see more conversation about real issues. Right now it’s just back and forth and gotcha games.”

 To see the broadcast, click here and go to the link at the bottom of the page.