On October 19, Canada will hold its 42nd election and in all likelihood will experience its lowest voter turnout among youth aged 18 -24.
In the 2011 election, a mere 38.8 per cent of eligible youth voters voted according to data collected by Elections Canada whereas 75 per cent of Canadians aged 65 and older voted.
While youth are often dismissed as being uninterested and unmotivated to vote, it is worth noting that politicians seldom campaign platforms that are relevant to young voters. Thus the cycle continues or as CBC called it in an article published on Aug. 8, a “Self-fulfilling prophecy” as well as a “Chicken – Egg” problem. Essentially, politicians don’t campaign to the youth vote as it does little to affect the outcomes of their elections, causing youth to disengage from the electoral process, thus not creating demand for politicians to make specific platforms for them.
“Largely policies are directed toward older people. The Baby Boomers tend to vote, so the leaders speak to older people, their policies speak to and are targeted to older people. It’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy — if every student went out and voted the leaders would pander to that vote a little bit more than they do now.” stated Sean Simpson, vice-president of Ipsos Reid in an interview with CBC.
Matthew Dunlop, a student streamlining youth voter apathy from the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance shared his views on the upcoming election, stating, “It’s to turn apathy into action and to get them out to vote on Oct. 19 or in advance polling. I think they feel like their issues are not on the table, like the key things they want solutions to, that their vote doesn’t actually make that much of a difference,” said Dunlop. “But it does, their vote does matter.”
While it seems as if convincing youth to vote is nearly impossible, educating our fellow students is about as important as it gets so listed on the following page are brief bios on the political party. Be sure to check them out.
Regardless of which political party you specifically endorse, the important thing is to vote on Oct. 19 not just so you can exercise your right to vote, but also so you can make your voice heard and help shape the future of your country. Or, as John Quincy Adams, the 6th U.S President stated, “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost”.