Ottawa/Queen's Park




- by Madeline Matcheski

With a sudden election soon to come, new voters are rushing to make a decision in hopes to benefit our country. Despite this sudden influx of new voters, many parties hardly try to appeal to young adults who control the future.

“Stop treating us like children and like we are stupid,” says 18-year-old-College student Emily DeVries, “Let us have a say in some things instead of telling us we are too young and don’t know anything.”

Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2010, has the world at their fingertips with the power of the internet and can easily get involved and put an effort towards making change. Parties are limiting young voter engagement by not funding on-campus voting booths, despite them being the core demographic responsible for Canada’s recovery.

“Candidates should speak on topics or issues that young voters are interested in and candidates should understand what they want. I feel like they should try to engage with them differently compared to how they would with older voters,” says Priyanka who is starting university this year.
With the expansion of social media, it is easier for young viewers to do research, and discover their own political stance. Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the New Democratic Party since 2017, has used these platforms to reach this new and important audience. On TikTok, a popular app among the younger generations, you can find him partaking in trending dances and using popular sounds to advertise his platform.

“One of the reasons why the younger generation is going for NDP is due to the leader and how he is super active on TikTok. His social media engagement has been quite an effective tool in politics which is an important venue for millennials and Gen Z voters,” Priyanka continued.
In addition to Jagmeet’s inclusive platform, younger generations have newly been exposed to a variety of movements. The Black Lives Matter movement, climate action and the increasing 2SLGBTQIA+ justice movements are topics highly discussed in the media today. For most younger voters these are some of the most pressing matters that they hope to vote for.

In Emily's opinion, “I think people are voting for NDP because they seem to promise the greatest amount of change[s] that many people from the younger generations would think are for the better.”

James Howlett, an 18-year-old college student, expresses his hope for change, “Candidates need to respect human rights, have plans in place for protecting LGBTQ+ rights, [and] have ideas to lower or eliminate student debt for post-secondary education.”

IvotedTaxing the rich, more focus on global warming and lower college tuitions are other topics which Generation Z are interested in solving.
James, who disclosed that he will be voting NDP, stated, “With my vote I hope to finally create some sense of true equality and universal understanding between all Canadians. For many years Canadians have voted primarily for the liberal and conservative parties, and while this may seem like a solid idea to many Canadians, it’s dangerous. The liberals and conservatives spend more time fighting over which party is better and which basic Human right that they feel they should amend.”

Cassidy Perkins, 18, chimed in that political candidates should do more for change, “By showing hope and making a pathway to a better future [and] by understanding current problems and addressing things head-on.”

“There [are] many options nowadays for political parties and for politicians,” James continued, “so I believe if everyone finally begins to vote based on actual action and ideals rather than beliefs and loyalty, Canada can finally take back our name as the protectors of freedom and equality.”

The younger generation, raised on dystopian, government-overthrowing novels such as The Hunger Games and Divergent, also strive for that kind of history-making change. They seek rebellion from the norm and to be the leaders of a newer and brighter future.

18-year-old and first time voter Rae puts it best in saying, “Any vote can make a difference, this may be a more predominantly conservative area, but that does not mean it can change over time.”

Madeline Matcheski is a student at Owen Sound District Secondary School. We are looking forward to having Madeline co-op at the Hub next semester - in the meantime she generously researched and contributed  this piece on the federal election before the school year began.




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