National Democracy Challenge Winners Announcement

GATINEAU, Thursday, March 26, 2015 – The Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Marc Mayrand, is pleased to announce the winners of the National Democracy Challenge 2014.

In September 2014, Elections Canada asked students between the ages of 14 and 17 to show us why Canadians should vote with a creative and innovative video, image or artwork, or piece of writing.

"Despite not yet being of voting age, Canadian youth demonstrated their interest in their democracy and the electoral system," said Mr. Mayrand. "I congratulate this year's winners – and all of the participants – for their great work and inspiring vision, and for being civically engaged."

Best video

The winner is Cathryn Plaxton, 16, from Mississauga, Ontario. She combined storytelling and humour to deliver a personal and effective message. Ms. Plaxton wins a six-day civic education trip to attend the "Politics in Canada" theme week organized by Encounters with Canada in Ottawa in April 2015. The runners up are Marie-Claire Barasubiye, 15, and Elijah Dominic MacDonald, 15, who are both from Ottawa, Ontario.

Best image or artwork

The winner is Matthew Pieper, 15, from Mississauga, Ontario. He chose to convey his thoughts on democracy through a Bitstrips-type cartoon, which has the added benefit of integrating both visual and textual content. The runners up are Emilia Lilek, 16, from Waterloo, Ontario, and Kelly Liu, 18, from Burnaby, British Columbia.

Best writing

The winner is Harriet Smith, 14, from Okotoks, Alberta. "We as a country have a chance to set an example to other countries, showing that you do not need a law to make people vote", said Ms. Smith. "Instead, you just need people to care about what's happening to their country." The runners up are Amina Mecheri, 16, from Montreal, Quebec, and Natasha Lévesque-Wong, 15, from Mississauga, Ontario.

School Challenge winner

The winning school is Laurier MacDonald High School, in St-Léonard, Quebec, with 37 eligible entries, the highest number of entries received by any one school. The school wins a bursary for one student to travel to Ottawa to attend Forum for Young Canadians' week-long civic education program during the winter of 2015.

This year's winning entries were selected by a jury of accomplished Canadians: Canada's top political satirist Rick Mercer, Commonwealth Games and Pan-Am Games silver medalist Rosanna Tomiuk, and Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila.

Canadian high school and cégep students from 10 provinces and one territory participated in the National Democracy Challenge 2014. With 282 entries submitted, the initiative was a resounding success again this year.

The National Democracy Challenge is a hands-on learning activity launched every year as part of Canada's Democracy Week, an Elections Canada civic education initiative. Canada's Democracy Week 2015 will take place from September 14 to 21.

Visit to see all the winning entries and full contest details.


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