This is part of a post that I wrote back in May of this year. It was before the election had started and I was remarking how Canada’s democracy was in trouble. I’ve added to it because 37 days into this election, there are points that I think need to be addressed.
Although we are known as one of the world’s leading successful democracies, we have slowly started to take this democracy for granted. Year after year, voter turnout has declined – current youth voter engagement in the political process is extremely low, the lowest of all age demographics. It’s very telling; Canadians are checking out of our democracy in droves.
When I hear about people (especially young people) not voting, I get that frustrated. I get that vibrating due to such strong emotion angry. I don’t care if you don’t support the same person as I do. I don’t care if you vote differently than I do. I don’t care if you spoil your ballot (which is an option and sends a strong message too.) I care that you don’t vote. Democracy is not a spectator sport – your city and your country needs you to be on the field. We all need to step up.
Some recent statistics about youth participating in politics:
- Younger age groups are less likely to be registered as electors for a variety of reasons, including lack of interest or initiative and high mobility rates (Elections Canada Report on Voter Turnout for 2011 Federal General Election, retrieved here)
- As of 2011, the total population for the 18-24 age range was 3,075,277 (Stats Canada 2011 census data, retrieved here)
- In the 2011 election, 61.2% of Canadian youth did not vote – that’s over 1.8 Million young Canadians (courtesy YLC data)
I see these statistics and I am troubled. When did we start taking our civic responsibilities for granted? When did ‘civic responsibilities’ become something to be scoffed at, something scorned or something forgotten altogether? The millennial generation is among the most informed and educated, and among the least engaged in the political process. The issues that are being debated now, such as income inequality and environmental measures, are issues that will affect the millennial generation the most in coming years. Young people need to take their seat at the table. Every vote matters. If all youth showed up to vote, it would dramatically change the outcome of the federal election.
But all is not lost. The Young Liberals of Canada have started a new campaign that is going to be crucial during the next half of Election 42. #GenerationTrudeau is about Young Canadians supporting Justin Trudeau for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change Canada.
“We are building this movement together. It is the movement with which we will change politics.”
– Justin Trudeau
Election 42 is an incredibly important election, one that will have long-lasting ramifications. Whether you’re Liberal or not, it’s important to get out and vote. Visit Elections Canada for more information on voting.