Let’s get students voting: Maryam Monsef interview

During the week of October 6-10 from 11am-3pm, Trent University Politics Society (TUPS) will have two tables set up on campus: one in the Athletic Centre lobby, and the other in Bata.

The primary goal of these tables is to help students get on the voters list in Peterborough. The tables will also provide information about the role of municipal governments, the candidates, and key issues in Peterborough.

TUPS will also be providing an information session for anyone interested in volunteering at these tables, and is looking forward to uniting with you with this project.

“Do you think I can vote?” – the most urgent question from students. Well, here is the answer: Only Canadian citizens who are aged 18 years or older may vote in the election. You must be a resident in the City of Peterborough or if you are a non-resident, you (or your spouse) must own or rent property in the City.

As to students who may be living away from home while they attend school, if you consider your ‘home’ to be the place where you live when you are not attending school, then you are still eligible to vote in both municipalities.

You may have been told that international students who are residents can vote, but the City of Peterborough website says you must be a Canadian citizen.

A few international students mentioned that their relatives and friends were told they could not vote, as residents, during the last municipal election because they didn’t have citizenship.

However, most international students would not vote even if they were politically engaged, because according to them it is just “way too confusing”.

Those who are eligible to vote need to get to know the candidates.

Maryam Monsef was one of the candidates who recently came to the university. She shared with students her plans for the future, told us her background, and why she is running for mayor.

She kindly agreed to answer some of my questions.

How you are related to Peterborough and Trent University?

I moved to Peterborough from Afghanistan when I was 12 years old. I attended Trent University. I see myself as a Peterborough success story. When I arrived here with my mother and sisters we had very little, but over the past nearly 20 years, Peterborough and Trent have molded me into the person I am: a confident, intelligent, progressive woman who may very well be Peterborough’s next Mayor.

Why and how are you trying to engage students into voting?

We are working with the TCSA in order to ensure students know that they can vote in the election, and that the health of our city directly impacts students. Issues such as transportation, access to jobs, and the vitality of the downtown all affect students during their four years at Trent.

Will you have a campaign in University?/ Can students vote at Trent?

I have been actively involved at the university since graduating, and since the campaign began. I attended Clubs & Groups Day in order to let students know about the Municipal Election and presented at the Student Activist Assembly, organized by the TCSA. I also spoke to a class studying Canadian Politics, and I’ll be attending the TCSA’s candidate’s debate in October.

This year students can vote online. The City also recently released an app that helps point voters in the right direction in order to register to vote and vote online. All residents, including students, should check on the City’s website to see if they are on the voter’s list, and if not, should register to vote.

The City has made this quite an easy process, and I hope that students at Trent do get on the list, and do vote – they’re a very important part of our city and deserve to have a say.

Why should students vote for you?

I have been hearing from many people I speak with that they have never been involved with a municipal election, but this year they are inspired by the idea that collectively we could really change this community and turn it into a place that other communities look to as an example.”

Make your voice heard in the community, and vote away this municipal election!

About Kristina Dergacheva 7 Articles
My name is Kristina Dergacheva. I am an international student from Russia. Currently I am studying politics and economics, because I am very passionate about them. We can see many different issues around the world, I hope that one day I could help to solve them. Also, I am trying to be very active in my every-day life. I am president of Trent University Russian Speaking Association. We are trying to be very cheerful and make many fun events. Furthermore, I am trying to be involved in Canadian politics. I am a part of Trent University Politics Society. We have different symposiums and debates, which could help you to actually love politics. As for my personal life, I am 19 years old. My parents and little brother lives in Russia, so I miss them much. However, here in Canada I do have many important people for me, so I never feel lonely. I really enjoy writing and I am very pleased with the fact that I am able to write for such an awesome newspaper as Arthur! It's an amazing experience, and I hope in the closest future I would be able to write some more nice stories for it.