The recent municipal election fair in E building. Photo credit: Leslie Bader

The Ontario municipal elections are less than a week away and Ottawa will elect a new mayor for the first time since 2010. The issues in this campaign vary depending on who you talk to, however two main problems have sprouted and they are taking center stage in this election.

Housing and transportation.

These two issues have had the lion’s share of attention since Day 1 of the campaign in Ottawa and that is good news for students.

You’d be hard pressed to find a student in this city who is not affected in some way by these issues. Rent prices are skyrocketing and transit is unreliable, to put it delicately. With inflation soaring, many students cannot afford to see rent prices increase and they must rely on transit to get to and from work and school.

Students have a tremendous opportunity in this election to see action on issues that are important to them but if we do not show up to vote on Monday it’ll be a long four years.

Students are great at generating noise around the issues that matter to us, but when it comes time to vote we couldn’t be any quieter. If candidates were worried about the student vote, you could bet your Apple Watch they’d be listening to our concerns.

Voter turnout in federal elections is always higher among all demographics compared to municipal elections but it is municipal government that affects our lives the most. That message should resonate even more in this election cycle as basic governmental competency is a major issue for voters.

If students don’t show up to vote in an election that focuses on the issues that matter to them the most, our credibility as a voting demographic would be irreparably damaged in this city. Our generation is attracted to protest movements and Instagram activism like flies to honey, but when it comes to marking an ‘X’ on a ballot, oil to water.

There are a lot of things Ottawa could be doing better and if students want to see any meaningful change of circumstances we need to do better.

Research the candidates for mayor and equally as important, the candidates in your ward. Select the candidate that you believe will uphold the values you believe in and will advocate for issues that matter to you and your community.

Most importantly on Monday, Oct. 24, mark an ‘X’ next to your preferred candidates between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

This election is a party of student issues and it would be a shame if we didn’t show up.