Only once in four years will partisan students get the chance to experience a federal election during their undergrad.
The University of Saskatchewan Campus Conservatives have been busy with door knocking off campus for the three local Conservative candidates.
“My GPA hurts,” laughs Jared Campbell, a third-year international studies student and president of the USCC, while talking of the time he spent campaigning.
While it is a whirlwind, the experience is invaluable, especially if they see themselves entering politics in the future.
Almost 15 students are campaigning for the potential Members of Parliament. Some of them working almost full time at Brad Redekopp’s campaign office. The riding of Saskatoon–West is currently held by Sheri Benson of the NDP but it is said to be a close race and Conservatives have their sights set on it.
“All these Conservative politicians, they really enjoy working with the youth and they have a lot of faith in us. And it is more difficult to find Conservative youth, so when they do find someone who’s willing to help them out, they are very appreciative,” Campbell said.
Through their involvement in the party, the students can develop their professional skills — Campbell even had the chance to work for MP Kelly Block of Carlton Trail–Eagle Creek in Ottawa last summer.
But while they are finding success in the party, their campus outreach can be more difficult. At the Conservative students booth in the Arts Tunnel, they are facing hostility with some people walking by and hurling insults their direction.
“There’s a very bad perspective of Conservatives across campus. They think very badly of us, that we’re bigots, homophobes,” Campbell said. “We’re a very inclusive party.”
He says the USCC face “systematic suppression” on campus. First, it took weeks of work to redo their constitution in order to become ratified by the students’ union. Then, because they are defined as a third party, they aren’t able to advertise with posters around campus.
Despite the challenges they face, the USCC continues to reach out to the community and try to grow their numbers.
“We’re not talking anything radical, all we want is a nice fiscally responsible government, that’s the uniting factor of us.”
Nykole King/ Editor-in-Chief
Photo supplied by the University of Saskatchewan Campus Conservatives