TORONTO – Children’s entertainer and activist Raffi is urging “Beluga grads” to vote in the federal election.
The beloved singer-songwriter, author and founder of the Centre for Child Honouring makes the plea in a homemade video posted Monday on YouTube.
In the piece, entitled “Raffi 4 Canada,” the 62-year-old performer tells “Beluga grads” that if they’re really passionate about Canada like he is, they should vote on May 2.
“We’ve got to strengthen our democratic traditions and enhance them, we’ve got to think about Earth and future generations,” says Raffi, seated in what appears to be a kitchen.
“We need to uphold our international climate change agreements.”
The B.C.-based performer, whose full name is Raffi Cavoukian, closes the 90-second video by singing an election-themed verse to his 1980 children’s tune, “Baby Beluga.”
“Now you’ve grown and you’re on your way, making waves in the boundless bay, with your shining light and your dreams alive, for the young you’ll have one day,” he croons a cappella.
“Grown up Beluga, grown up Beluga, come and rock the vote, please get out and vote, we need to hear you.”
Reached by phone in his home on Salt Spring Island, B.C., Raffi said Wednesday that he was alarmed by a poor turnout of young voters in the last election and made the online clip in a bid to boost the youth vote in May.
“It’s important that young people vote — it’s a sacred right of citizenship,” said Raffi.
“People all around the world give their lives for this freedom. I noticed that in the last election the percentage of young voters was small and I thought, ‘Well if I can reach just some of the five million young adults who grew up singing ‘Baby Beluga’ that might be a good thing.'”
The message seemed to resonate with several viewers who posted comments including: “If Raffi wants me to vote, then I’m going to vote!” and “Raffi for PM! Imagine how joyful and fun question period would be in parliament!”
Raffi says he made the video in “a non-partisan way.”
“I’m just passionate about this country and want us all engaged so that we can together make our mark for a brighter future.”
Raffi has sold more than 15 million albums in Canada and the United States, including more than three million “songs to read” books.
His non-profit global awareness group, Centre for Child Honouring, tries to restore ecosystems and help communities through a children-first approach.
Raffi has also produced two CDs for adults, written an autobiography and edited the book “Child Honouring: How To Turn This World Around,” which has a foreword by the Dalai Lama.
The video “Raffi 4 Canada” can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=beu8HLoaSDQ.