Who do I vote for? Here are some resources.

On Oct. 21 or in advanced polling, students will be making a choice at the ballot box, but many wonder who they will vote for and we are here to help with resources.

Who do I vote for?

We all like Internet quizzes, right? Check out CBC’s Vote Compass — a really easily and quick quiz to match you with a party that could match your personal political beliefs, or the closest.

IGNITE, your student union, is also holding a federal election discussion event on Oct. 16 that could provide an opportunity to talk to other students about their choices and why they will make them on election day.

But who’s running?

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is the current prime minister, or incumbent, and is the top executive of the federal government. He is only there because his party has a majority in the House of Commons.

Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party is virtually tied with the Liberals and are the most likely of any party to knock out Trudeau’s team. The power of government has gone back and forth between red and blue since 1867.

Does anyone else matter? Well, in 2011, for the first time in Canadian history, the New Democratic Party came second place as the Liberals got obliterated at the ballot box and formed the Official Opposition.

Beyond the NDP, who sit at half-strength of the Liberals and Conservatives, there is the left-wing Bloc Québécois, dedicated to Quebec nationalism, and the new, controversial People’s Party of Canada.

No CUPE strike as tentative agreement reached

Thousands of elementary and high school kids will most likely still have school on Monday as an agreement was reached late on Sunday night between the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the provincial government for some 55,000 education support workers.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce told media that he expects the late night deal to allow support workers to work the next morning and for students to be able to return to classes as per normal.

“Parents can rest easy knowing that the government worked tirelessly to ensure their children remain in the classroom, where they belong, Lecce said in a press conference, adding that that there was “incremental success” in negotiations.

CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions said that wage increases were acquired and the existing sick leave plan will remain in place. The Council of Union’s president, Laura Walton, said that there will be a $20 million reinvestment in schools returning more employment to Ontario.

All the terms of the tentative agreement with the support staff will be kept confidential until formal ratification. As part of the deal, CUPE has agreed to stop all job action, including striking, or work to rule, until negotiations are complete.

Humber College sent an email to all students on Friday acknowledging that should a strike have occurred, there would be an impact on students with elementary and high school-aged children. They encouraged those students impacted to communicate with their professors for any missed work.

Johnson-Figueredo: No, a gun ban will not curb violence


Michel Johnson
The Avro Post
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

Justin Trudeau and three other party leaders are pushing gun legislation to either cripple gun ownership in Canada or eliminate it completely.

The gun debate in Canada has jumped to the forefront of the national discussion over the past four years. Reporting on mass shootings has expanded from the United States and spread globally.

Push back from lawmakers and presidential candidates in the U.S. has also prompted or influenced political leaders in Canada to campaign on reducing gang violence.

Being anti-gun polls well with Liberal Party supporters and inspires change when violent crime is seemingly on an upwards trend. While some may believe placing bans on legal guns will reduce homicides, it is often those who have no regard for the law that cause violence.

Shootings that have created public outcry for enhanced gun restrictions in Canada, have been carried out with illegal guns that could not be controlled by sweeping government regulation.

This includes the Toronto Danforth Shooting in 2018 that was carried out by 29 year-old Faisal Hussain.

The semi-automatic hand-gun used by Hussain was in his possession illegally and was reported stolen in 2016. Hussain was responsible for the deaths of 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis, and injuring 13 others.

Gang-related homicides were connected with 141 murders in 2016 across Canada, with particular upticks in Ontario and British Columbia. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, accounted for 21 of confirmed gang-related homicides in 2016. Firearm-related homicides that were also gang related account for 54 per cent of homicides. 22 confirmed incidents were in Toronto.

When accounting for the total number of firearm related homicides in Canada between 2000 and 2016, 75 per cent of firearm deaths were from suicides alone, followed by homicides and accidental deaths. These make up the majority of total firearm related deaths and cannot be regulated by gun legislation.

Often when politicians and activists give their speeches on gun control they fail to mention that responsible citizens aren’t committing the crimes. Possession and Acquisition License, or PAL, holders are subject to multiple exams, applications and daily background checks conducted by the RCMP, according to the TheGunBlog.ca

“All guns are banned already for everyone unless you have a firearm licence authorized by the federal police. Anyone caught with any gun and no licence can go to jail.” said Nicolas Johnson, the editor of TheGunBlog.ca.

Canadian gun owners have been considered irrelevant by left-leaning political parties in the current political climate but more than 2.2 million Canadians own gun licenses, according to RCMP data published by TheGunBlog.ca

“Trudeau’s plan has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with politics.”

Potential policies like those of Trudeau’s Liberals, Singh’s NDPs and other leftist parties will lead to Canadian gun owners and businesses having no place in Canada. Politicians fail to see that the impact of these policies will disenfranchise law abiding citizens and small business owners.

If the proposed legislation is fully passed and Conservatives fail to win a majority government, millions of Canadians sports shooters and hobbyists are at risk of losing more than just their property.

Michel Johnson-Figueredo is a second year Bachelor of Public Relations student at Humber College and Public Relations Officer for The Avro Post.

Nicolas Johnson is a leading advocate for firearm owners and editor of TheGunBlog.ca, Canada’s leading media on gun politics and policy.

Note: Nicolas Johnson and Michel Johnson-Figueredo are relatives.

Louise Bradley: Making the grade on campus mental health


Louise Bradley
, Mental Health Commission of Canada
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

I remember my post-secondary years like they were yesterday.

And not because it was the joyful time I had hoped for.

For me, it was a time of turmoil — a time when I lost my closest friend to suicide, and her death made me realize that I had a lot of unresolved trauma of my own.

I’m telling you this because there are some people who question whether mental health matters on campus. People who say that universities are institutes of higher learning — full stop. That they don’t have a responsibility or an obligation to see students through the rough patches they encounter, to teach them how to bend — not break — when confronted with life’s inevitable challenges.

To them I say this: Were it not for a caring dean of nursing, who put me on a path to therapy, insight, and healing, I know I would not be sitting where I am today, leading the country’s national body on mental health.

Her kindness, her perception, and her insistence that I seek care reinforced the feeling that I was someone worth investing in. And I believe that every student, no matter their background, social status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity, deserves the same kind of compassion I received.

Thankfully, many campuses today are realizing the value of investing in student mental wellness, and they are stepping up to the plate to bridge gaps in access to services. In fact, nine institutions so far have piloted The Inquiring Mind Post-Secondary training (TIM PS) — an evidence-based program that teaches students how to hold up a mirror to gain an understanding of their mental state — while another 20 are beginning to roll it out.

As I write this, some 3,000 students in Canada have been introduced to simple behavioural therapy techniques to manage stress and to the mental health continuum model, which describes mental wellness on a colour coded scale — green (healthy), yellow (reacting), orange (injured), and red (ill). The Working Mind, the workplace predecessor of TIM PS, has clearly demonstrated the program’s capacity to improve help-seeking behaviour and create more supportive, caring workplaces.

It makes terrific sense to start young people on an early path to self-care and self-awareness: to teach students that their academic progress goes hand in glove with their capacity to build resiliency, encourage them to look after their mental well-being, and support friends and family who may be experiencing a mental health problem.

With mental health services on campuses being oversubscribed because young people are more willing than my generation was to step up and ask for help, many institutions are recognizing the need to do things differently. This proactive approach will prevent a crisis from bubbling up.

By intervening appropriately, they will be sending new graduates out into the world who are equipped not only for the intellectual demands of their careers — but also for emotional rigours they’re sure to encounter.

With $6 billion in lost workplace productivity every year, training post-secondary students in TIM PS should bolster their mental wellness, as well as their productivity. 

Students are hardly “delicate flowers,” as a hard-nosed columnist once suggested. They are people on a search for knowledge, a quest for understanding. They should be encouraged to look both outward and inward to find the answers they seek.

Supporting them, and helping them to thrive, both academically and emotionally, will lead to a healthier and happier society.

Trudeau appealing to Ontario students in platform reveal

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced on Sunday a campaign pledge to allow parents to take an interest-free break from repaying student loans until their youngest child turns five, a central part of his fully released platform.

The prime minister made the announcement from the University of Toronto Mississauga, where he also took questions from students.

The location of the reveal was strategic as the Liberals look to highlight the difference between their party’s pro-education stance and the provincial Progressive Conservatives, who have under Premier Doug Ford made cuts to education programs and finances, causing significant backlash.

The opposition Conservative Party have promised to increase matching grants for registered education savings plans as well as tax cuts for the lowest income bracket and tax credits for maternity benefits.

The New Democrats have pledged to get rid of interest on federal student loans, increase grants for post-secondary studies, and work with the provinces to eliminate tuition on post-secondary education over time.

The Greens have pledged to eliminate post-secondary tuition entirely and to forgive all student-loan debt held by the federal government.

The Liberals’ promised break on student loan payments is meant to target a middle class that they say have already benefitted from programs such as the Canada Child Benefit program, which gets an increase by 15 per cent in the re-election platform.

Typically, education policy is tackled at the provincial level but with Ontario holding 121 out of 338 ridings, and therefore seats in the House of Commons, the Liberals are making an effort to play on the recent discontent surrounding the PC government.

Premier Doug Ford and his provincial government made significant cuts to student grants and loans, public post-secondary funding and the introduction of the Student Choice Initiative, prompting outcry from student organizations. Ford also included a 10 per cent domestic tuition cut.

IGNITE holding federal election ‘pop up’

IGNITE is holding a federal election information “pop up” in October, according to a post by Vice President Ryan Stafford on Monday.

The “vote pop up” will take place on Oct. 16 from 11 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Library at Humber College North Campus.

It is unclear at this time if there will be a Lakeshore or Guelph-Humber equivalent.

The objective, according to a banner featured in the Instagram Story post, is to “demystify the voting process”, “connect your concerns and hopes to an election” and “build a culture of engagement”.

Trudeau wore brownface to 2001 private school party

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wore brownface makeup to an “Arabian Nights” party at the private school where he was teaching in the spring of 2001, TIME reported on Wednesday evening with a photograph.

A spokesperson for the prime minister, who is facing a federal election in a matter of weeks, confirmed that it was Trudeau in the photo and that he was dressed as a character from Disney’s Aladdin.

New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh, of Indian background, said Trudeau’s behaviour was “troubling” and “insulting”.

Half of campus radio stations at risk of shuttering

(CUP) — Half of campus radio stations are at risk of closing due to the provincial government’s Student Choice Initiative, according to a New Democratic Party media release.

In the NDP’s press release, Chris Glover, MPP Spadina-Fort York, described the act of closing campus radio stations as a “broader attack” to post-secondary institutions and their services.

“There’s a $600-million OSAP cut, a $300-million operating grant cut to colleges and universities across the province, and a 10 per cent, unfunded tuition cut. This is an attack on the quality of education students are provided,” Glover states.

The SCI was first announced on Jan. 17 by Merrilee Fullerton, former minister of training, colleges and universities. The policy gives students the ability to opt out of certain non-essential, non-tuition fees that were previously a mandatory part of their tuition.

Over two months later, the province released its guidelines for the SCI. Mandatory fees included student buildings, health and counselling, academic support, campus safety programs and athletics and recreation, among others.

Those fees which aren’t mandatory—and subject to student opt-out—include campus student groups and cultural associations, student unions and campus media organizations, such as newspapers and radio stations.

“We represent 18 stations across Ontario that are being impacted by this initiative and shift,” said Randy Reid, the manager of VIBE105 at York University and vice-president of the National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA). “We risk losing at least half of these stations if [Doug] Ford’s decisions are not overturned.”

In the media release, Reid said that campus radio stations have been partnering with universities across Ontario for “the better part of 30 years.”

Ryerson University’s campus radio station, CJRU, is a member of NCRA according to their website. The CJRU’s fee costs students $3.73, annually.

“Since the Ford Government eliminated the six-month grace period after graduation before OSAP loan payments are due, it’s now more important than ever for students to be able to gain experience in their field before graduating,” said Naama Weingarten, a Ryerson student employed at the CJRU, in the media release. “So many students like myself start out with campus community radio stations and student newspapers. This is the way that we get our foot in the door.”

Weingarten says that if radio stations like CJRU are shut down, there would be no way for her to build a portfolio before she graduates.

“At a time where we’re losing our grants, we’re losing OSAP, it should be more important than ever to fund student jobs, and jobs that allow us to excel in our career after graduating,” said Weingarten. “Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be a priority for Provincial government.”

Radio Humber will not be impacted by the Student Choice Initiative, as it is part of an academic program. Students at Humber College have until Sept. 16 when tuition is due to remain opted in or opt out while University of Guelph-Humber students have already made the choice.

Trudeau to launch federal election Wednesday

After over a week of anticipation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will on Wednesday launch the 2019 federal election campaign season that will see his Liberal Party aim to hold on to power while the rival Conservatives look to take Ottawa.

This means a 41-day campaign before eligible voters head to the polls on Oct. 21, just under half the length of the lengthy 78-day election in 2015 that saw rookie Trudeau take on a three term Stephen Harper.


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