With municipal election voter turnout in Comox around 40 per cent in 2011, former educator and current councillor Hugh MacKinnon hopes to engage youth and encourage a higher voter turnout, thanks to a newly-discovered resource.
MacKinnon said last year he came across a teaching resource through the Justice Institute in Vancouver containing lesson plans and activities for students in Grades 7 through 11, and inquired with School District 71 to see if the resource was available to teachers.
“ … I have been thinking of ways to engage citizens in their communities, least of which getting a better voter turnout,” he explained. “I checked with our Comox Valley School District to see if these resources were available to local teachers and they were not.”
MacKinnon contacted the Justice Institute to see if resource binders entitled ‘Being an Active Citizen’ were available for distribution and was able to deliver binders and discs to all Town of Comox schools (public and private) at no cost besides shipping.
He has delivered the teaching resources to Highland Secondary, Phil Gaglardi Academy, Brooklyn, Airport, Aspen Park and Ecole Robb Road elementary schools.
“The ‘Being an Active Citizen’ teacher resource introduces students to the fundamentals of law and how the justice system works, and the structure and operation of our governments,” added MacKinnon. “This approach is important as it allows students opportunities to engage in active citizenship activities over a number of years and in doing so, builds their interest and skills.”
MacKinnon said he hopes the resource will help spur the idea of community engagement to those at an early age.
“Let’s plant the seed now so our needs will be taken care of thoughtfully, creatively and wisely by the next generation who have already knowledge and engagement in municipal government.”