Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Last updated: 2 years ago

Last Words: You need to vote

Illustration Julian Yu / The Ubyssey

Illustration Julian Yu / The Ubyssey

Make yourself heard

During the 2011 federal elections, only 38.8 per cent of those between the ages of 18-24 who were eligible to vote actually did so. That’s embarrassing. We hate to be the ones to serve up old platitudes about the importance of democracy and the effect of youth voter apathy but here they are.

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Federal parties are significantly less likely to gear legislation towards youth — a phenomenon aptly called “generation squeeze.” The Canadian government spends less than $12,000 on benefits and services per Canadian under 45, compared to more than $33,000 for every retiree. Why? Because they know Canada’s youth is disengaged and it doesn’t benefit the parties to offer us a fair deal.

For our country’s three major parties the main demographic focus of this campaign has been the middle class and families. Meanwhile, BC youth face an unemployment rate that has remained virtually stagnant since 2008 at 13 per cent — nearly double the national average, which has fallen roughly two per cent in the same time span.

As for students, the provinces are slashing higher education funding and universities are trying to get students to foot the bill with little more than a peep from the Federal government.

These issues affect for more than 38.8 per cent of us. The economic headwind is against Canada’s youth and our government is nowhere to be found. We can change things. Let’s actually do it this time.

Better late than never

Whenever a university takes a strong stance on preventing sexual assault, it’s a good thing.

While it’s true that a Sexual Assault Response Team would have been great to see in 2013 — no matter the timing, when a university funnels resources into preventing sexual assault, we can safely say that’s pretty progressive development.

Moreover, the best part about this is that the Response Team has been created in conjunction with a Sexual Assault Prevention Team, which has an educational component focused on preventing future sexual violence.

This is what’s missing from many efforts to prevent sexual assault; as opposed to just creating a task force to intervene after the fact, more programs need to be created to crack open the dialogue on sexual assault and prevent future perpetrators. Without that, a response team is just a band-aid fix.

That being said, good on UBC for developing a task force that, if nothing else, sends the message that this is not a campus that takes sexual violence lightly.

Laying down the law (or trying to)

Obviously, in a perfect world, discrimination wouldn’t exist, and a student wishing to become a lawyer, teacher, astronaut, etc. could attend any school without fear of rejection based on sexual orientation. But while it may seem like a simple case of discrimination based on sexual orientation, this case isn’t black and white.

The controversy over Trinity Western University’s attempt to open an accredited law school has been dragged out for months and through a few different court systems, and the decision on whether or not it will be recognized could set a precedent either way; can a law school refuse homosexual students in a country in which gay marriage is legal, and can external organizations put pressure on voluntary associations to change their rules and regulations?

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms argued that TWU should not have to change their independent rules and regulations, as this would have a negative impact on future freedom of association. Others argue the absurdity of not allowing homosexual students to study law in Canada, a country famous for its friendliness to the LGBTQ+ community.

The Ubyssey recognizes that an independent, voluntary association being forced to change its regulations by order of law feels rather Orwellian. At the same time, barring anyone from an education at your institution based on their sexual orientation is incredibly barbaric, no matter your justification. The United States just legalized gay marriage nationwide, but as long as backwards policies like TWU’s exist, it’s clear that the battle is far from over.

  • discourse310367

    The claim that Twu doesn’t allow homosexuals is simply ridiculous and false. The university has had gay students for 50 years. All people choose to go there because of its unique Christian identity
    Public institutions are everywhere, all the same. Twu is unique. Open to all, and all respect it’s values. Don’t like it don’t go there.