In the 2011 Canadian federal election, the age group of 18-24 year old students came in with the lowest voter turnout rate. This age group only had 38.8 percent voter turnout. This statistic is downright embarrassing for these Canadians. University students along with other young adults should be lining up at the polling stations to get their voices heard.
This is the mindset all Canadians should have. They should want to play an active role in this democratic and free country. This age category specifically is filled with university students, college students, even high school students as well as recent high school graduates who entered directly into the workforce. All of these different demographics of young voters are important for the country’s economy, making them an important asset to the government. The age group of 18-24 are some of the most indirectly and directly affected citizens through government action plans and legislature. That being said, why don’t they care enough to go to the polling station? Shouldn’t everyone want to have influence in what is being done at the parliamentary level?
In the recent Federal budget there were many key points that affect young citizens, from fostering job creation, innovation and trade, as well as the government battling youth unemployment. These are many ways the government directly affects the 18-24 demographic, yet young people don’t care. Toronto’s mayor is smoking crack, the Ontario budget deficit is through the roof, yet young people still don’t care. But that video of Rob Ford running into a camera has how many likes on Facebook? The youth’s ideology of politics is inane: on Facebook everyone bashes the current senate that is filled with scandal, and then they glorify Rob Ford, who recently went on Jimmy Kimmel Live, yet they still don’t vote.
One of the biggest reasons found proving a lack of voter turnout rate (regardless of the age category) is insufficient education and knowledge levels. Coming from a generation who lives on the computer, and never leaves home without their phone, shouldn’t we be the most educated on day-to-day news?
Seemingly, they should be the most educated on these topics because these Canadians are the ones in the classrooms, spending their days at the libraries. Therefore a Canadian university student has no excuse on not being knowledgeable on the elections, and the candidates running for the positions.
It is a day-to-day battle for the federal government to gain interest across all age demographics in a free nation like Canada. To gather up excitement for an election is not an easy task. In the last federal election young voters saw an increase in voter turnout rate through the movement behind Jack Layton of the NDP. It seems to be apparent that youth need to be voting for a personable leader rather than for the political party filled with traditional old white guys. Justin Trudeau seems to be gaining speed with the oncoming election.
There are many opposing arguments to why Canadians don’t vote. Ontario residents saw this through the option for political reform in the 2007 provincial referendum. The option given to the people was for electoral reform on which system Ontario should use to elect members to the provincial legislature.
At the time, and still to this day Ontario uses a first past the post system, which is based on the election results of individual electoral ridings. The proposed change was to institute a mixed member proportional electoral system. 63 percent of Ontario residents voted to keep it the same way, and only 37 percent voted to change it. This proves that it is not the electoral system that is the reason for lack of political participation.
The overall federal government voter turnout rate has been in steady decline since 1984 where it hit 75 percent, which is minus a few exceptions until 2011 where it came in at 61 percent. Therefore it is pivotal for the overall outcome of Canada that university students need to start caring about the election process. These students will be around for on average the next 60 plus years. Which could translate into 12 federal elections or more. If they don’t care to vote, that is a lot of wasted political freedom. The prime minister and elected members of parliament control how the country is run, don’t you want a say in it?