On the morning of March 14, 2019, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada (CEO), Stéphane Perrault, joined a Grade 9 class at St John's High School to explore Elections Canada’s resource, Civic Action: Then and Now. This activity helps students understand how they can be active citizens by looking at historical case studies that resulted in real change. The case study they explored relates to Aboriginal and Treaty rights in Canada's Constitution, and is an example of how Elections Canada incorporates Indigenous content into its educational resources.
Engaging students on civic participation and voting in elections is an important issue for us. This is my third event in Canada, after Halifax and Toronto, promoting our civic education resources in classrooms, and our reception so far has been very positive. We want to make sure that teachers are aware of these tools, that they are fun to use and they can assist them in their class even if they are not teaching civics. In fact, these resources can also be used in history, math, geography, social studies, politics or citizenship class. They are done in a way that students can engage and think about elections and civic action for themselves.
– Stéphane Perrault, Chief Electoral Officer of Canada
As a social studies teacher in an economically depressed area with typical low voter engagement and interest, I feel engaging students to be active and aware citizens is one of the most important lessons I can teach. It's not just in daily lessons, but to have embedded in everything we do. Having workshops on election engagement is another way to engage kids, but from a different voice and perspective other than mine, which is important for them too. The fact that the workshop features Indigenous content makes it particularly relevant here in Winnipeg.
– Russell Patterson, Teacher at St John's High School in Winnipeg
In the afternoon, Mr. Perrault joined students from Grades 7 to 9 to explore a resource called Does Voting Matter? Students participated in a series of simulated elections where they learned, in a fun and stimulating way, the effects of voter turnout on choices and decisions that affect us all.
The closing video of the activity, the testimony of a Canadian, born in Rwanda, on the importance of the power to vote, has special significance for the students and teachers of École Roméo-Dallaire. Recall that General Dallaire served as Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda before and during the 1994 genocide.
Manitoba's Social Studies Curriculum seeks to develop Active Democratic Citizens. So it is a real pleasure for me to see both teachers and students react so positively to Election Canada's resources. Having engaging discussions, fun activities and relevant videos at the heart of these lesson plans make this growth experience both dynamic and fun. Students go from turning into zombies or dinosaurs in Does Voting Matter? to being inspired by the real lived experiences of Canadian citizens. There's so much variety to choose from, and teachers are happy to have turnkey resources that are tried, trusted and free!
– Joseph Péloquin-Hopfner, Education Coordinator, Elections Canada