We have prepared two activities that can be used in the weeks after the federal election. They are designed to help your students reflect on the importance of elections in our democracy and how elections connect to Parliament. The two activities can be used independently or in sequence. You may also want to simply have a discussion by looking at the Student Vote Canada results.
Post-election activity: Understanding the Federal Election Results
Invite students to share what they heard about the election results. Write a few items on the board. Then, explain that there are many different ways to think about the election results.
Working in partners or small groups, have students use news reports or data from Elections Canada's website to complete the questions below. If you like, use this printable activity sheet or the interactive version on Google apps.
Invite groups to share their responses to initiate a discussion with the class.
A. My local representative
- What is our school's electoral district or riding?
- Who is our member of Parliament? Is the member newly elected?
- By how much did they win?
- Are they part of the government or the opposition? Have they been appointed as cabinet ministers?
Discuss and reflect: Why do you think they won?
To prompt student thinking, you can ask them to identify some factors of the candidate’s success.
B. The new federal government
- Which party won the election? Who is the Prime Minister?
- What kind of government is it: minority or majority?
- How is the new government different from the old government?
- How many seats did each party win?
Discuss and reflect: What were some factors that led to these results?
To prompt students to reflect, ask: What are your friends, family, and the media saying? Students could also predict how this election will affect Canada over the next four years.
C. Student Vote Canada results
Investigate: How do the Student Vote Canada results compare to those of the federal election?
Invite students to pose their own questions by asking: What do you wonder about, now?
Post-election activity: From Candidate to Member of Parliament
Explain that, during the election, candidates compete to win. However, once candidates win, they represent everyone in their riding as members of Parliament (MP). While they may still represent a political party, they must also take into account the needs of all the citizens in their riding. Some MPs are appointed by the Prime Minister as members of the Cabinet. Cabinet members have a dual role: to be a minister and to be an MP for their riding.
As citizens, it is our responsibility to communicate our needs to our MP so that they can bring them forward, whether they are part of the government or the opposition.
- Ask students what federal issues they care about most. Have students individually list their top federal issues (3 to 5). To get them started, you may wish to review some of the issues discussed both in your region and nationally during the election. You may also read the Speech from the Throne to learn about the government’s priorities.
- Invite students to work together in small groups to list the federal issues that they would like Parliament to prioritize for new legislation (3 to 5 priorities).
- Invite the small groups to share their ideas with the class. Write all of their ideas on the board or chart paper.
- Develop a class Parliamentary wish list. Work together to figure out the top issues as a class. Ranking activities can be an engaging way to practice consensus-building.
- Invite students to identify which items on the wish list will have a direct impact on your school’s riding and which will affect the whole country and the world. You can use codes (L, N, or I) to identify the issues as local, national or international.
- Then ask students which issues are more important to your community?
- Have students write an email or letter to their new MP, and share the class Parliamentary wish list. The class could write one email as a group addressing their top concerns; or small groups could take responsibility for writing emails on individual items.
Note: If your students are at the secondary level, you could point out that they will likely be able to vote in the next election.
Optional extension activities
Invite your new MP to speak to your class, either virtually or in person.
- Have students ask them questions about the transition from election campaign to Parliament, such as: Do you know where you will live in Ottawa? How often do you expect to be in our riding? Are you nervous about the new role? How will you work with members of the other parties?
- Invite students to develop more questions based on the class parliamentary wish list.
If your MP is not available to speak to your class, students could consider and discuss how the MP’s life might change, as that person’s role evolves from candidate to member of Parliament.
- We recommend Setting the Agenda, a simulation activity that helps students understand the daily work of MPs and senators.