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Municipal Election Lesson 6 - Candidates for Election


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This is lesson six of seven about municipal elections that I developed and proposed for Student Vote.

This lesson requires students to investigate the platform and qualities of respective municipal and school board candidates.

Please refer to Municipal Election Lessons Additional Resources for references and supporting information.

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Municipal Election Lesson 6 - Candidates for Election

  1. 1. Big Idea:Informed participation in local government both stimulates and upholds the principles ofdemocracy.Essential Question:What are the characteristics of an informed Canadian citizen participating in a municipal election orschool board election?Candidates in Your Municipality & School BoardInteraction with local candidates is an important means for voters to better understand electionplatforms and evaluate candidates’ approaches for addressing local issues.Hook 5 min.Brainstorm qualities that you look for in a leader by thinking about leaders that you know. Look atthe pictures of municipal and school board election candidates and consider what you would wantto know about them before selecting them to lead you.Essential Learning 20-40 min.1. Using Handout 6.1 and the resources provided by your teacher, create a profile for each of the municipal and school board candidates that you will have the option of electing on Student Vote Day. Each profile should include the candidate’s name, age, political and related experience, and significant campaign planks and promises. Consider dividing up the candidates amongst your classmates and share candidate profiles with one another.2. Using the information provided in your candidate profiles and your knowledge of local election issues, prepare questions for each of the candidates that will help you to better evaluate each individual’s capacity to lead your community. Pose these questions via a letter, email, telephone call, interview, or at an all-candidates debate, and record the responses to each question you ask. Reflect on how interaction with candidates affected your perception of each individual.3. From this set of activities, review what you have discussed and learned about knowing of and interacting with election candidates.Extended Learning 20-30 min.Option A:Create a public service announcement that explains the importance of meeting and interacting withelection candidates. The announcement should target young voters, be exciting and persuasive,and contain factual information about the value of meeting election candidates. Share youannouncement with members of your community.Option B:Before attending an all-candidates’ debate, establish criteria and different levels of standards bywhich candidates can be evaluated. What characteristics do you look for in a candidate? Howshould an ideal candidate debate with the other candidate? In your opinion, to what ideas shouldthe ideal candidate assign the highest value? How will evidence of a candidate’s worth be observedand measured? Consider surveying federal leaders’ debates in order to help identify some keycharacteristics of a political leader or acting out how each of these standards might appear duringthe debate. After the all-candidates’ debate, evaluate the candidates according to your criteria.Option C:Highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate running in your local municipal andschool board election in a creative way that can be shared with members of your community.
  2. 2. Option D:Nominations for municipal and school board elections opened on January 4, 2010 and closed onSeptember 10, 2010. Are there any municipal or school board election candidates who have wonby acclamation? Using the resources provided, compare the number of acclamations in yourmunicipality and school board to that of neighbouring municipalities and school boards;alternatively, compare the number of acclamations in your municipality and school board in thiselection to the number of acclamations in previous local elections. Use this information as youreflect on the necessity of acclaimed candidates to reflect the wishes of constituents while in office.Key Termsacclaimed; acclamation; all-candidates’ debate; campaign plank; election platform; politicalexperience; public service announcementEssential QuestionsWho are the candidates?What are the differences between the candidates?What candidates reflect my own beliefs?Teacher PreparationSelect teaching strategies for essential learning activitiesMake class copies of required handoutsLocate local news articles, campaign materials, web and print commentary about the municipal andschool board election candidates in your community for essential learning activities (see chapter onAdditional Resources for links to Ontario school boards and municipalities and to Google Alerts)Book computer lab, if desiredPreview websites to be used for class activities, if desired (see chapter on Additional Resources)Select extended learning activity and teaching strategies, if desiredOrganize municipal and school board all-candidates’ debates at your class or school, if desiredLocate and prepare acclamation statistics for the upcoming election from municipal election offices(see chapter on Additional Resources)AssessmentStudents should provide evidence that they have the ability to use the distinctions betweencandidates (such as purpose of campaign, election platform, personal connection to candidate) tojudge the worth for election of each candidate.
  3. 3. Handout 6.1: Election Candidate ProfileCreate a profile of a municipal or school board candidate that you will have the option of electingon Student Vote Day.Candidate Name:Candidate’s Age:Candidate’s Political Experience:Candidate’s Related Experience and Qualifications for Public Office:Significant Campaign Planks and Promises:Interesting Fact about Candidate: