Kelowna News

ELECTION 2015: What does voting got to do with dancing?

Liam Parks is organizing a non-partisan youth voter registration dance party to push back against youth voter apathy.

KELOWNA - A young voter from Kelowna is determined to put the party back in politics by holding a free youth voter registration dance party.

“They’ve been talking for 40 years about how the youth vote is declining and young people are not getting out to vote any more. I’m active in my culture and want to participate and hope my friends and peers are also interested in participating,” party organizer Liam Parks says.

“The political system is a pretty dry subject whereas dance parties have never been bigger. So why not combine the two?”

Rotary Centre of the Arts in downtown Kelowna has donated the atrium space and DJ RumHam and DJ Thistle are providing music for the party.

Parks says he’s been in touch with all the local candidates, some who have said they will try to have a volunteer come by the event.

“I’m hoping that’s an incentive to come and start the political conversation. A lot of people might come to a party and not talk about politics as it can be a negative with a stranger but we will encourage political discourse. Politics will not be taboo.”

Parks will have a computer station set up for participants to check their voter registration status with Elections Canada and get information about candidates and polling stations.

He is promising a mystery door prize and he’s hoping people of all political stripes will show up at what he says is a non-partisan event.

“The party is neutral and everyone is invited. I’m not going to be pushing any one party on the mic. The point is to get people engaged and active.”

While Parks says he’s generaly critical of the Canadian political system, it’s all his generation has to work with.

“If you’re not ready for full-on revolution or civil disobedience, then you better be prepared to vote because sitting around complaining about it on the Internet isn’t doing much to change the political landscape.”

As who he’s going to vote for and his non-partisan stance wavers.

“I’ll say this. Me and a lot of my friends are very angry and disappointed with the Conservatives.”

Parks is no stranger to political activism. He was co-organizer of last summer’s Naked Bike Ride Kelowna.

The Voter Registration Party runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18 at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, 421 Cawston Ave.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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