Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Justin Trudeau, Young Canadians, and the Last Election

During the last election campaign I spent most of my free time trying to encourage young Canadians to vote.

As did a lot of other people and groups all over the country.

I got the feeling that more of them would vote than had voted in other elections. But I couldn't be sure.

That is until yesterday.

When I found out to my great joy, that when their country really needed them, they had answered the call.

Young people were a big reason why the 42nd federal election had the highest voter turnout in decades, says a Statistics Canada survey. Although they were the least likely age group to vote in last October’s federal election, youth between the ages of 18 and 24 had the biggest gains in voter turnout compared to the 2011 election.

Youth voter turnout grew from 55 per cent in 2011 to 67 per cent in 2015, according to a study commissioned by Elections Canada and administered during Statistics Canada’s November labour force survey.

And that despite Pierre Poilevre's attempts to make it harder for them to vote... 

They gave him and his Cons a slap in the face, by voting in much larger numbers.

They did help bring down the dirty dictator and his foul regime.

And they did help change the country.

David McGrane, a political science professor at the University of Saskatchewan who predicted that youth voters would shift Canadian politics to the left back in March, said that the Statistics Canada data proves he was right. 

“Because more young people voted, that transformed Canadian politics,” McGrane said.

And of course, they did help elect Justin Trudeau... 

Who spoke to them in their language, appealed to their youthful idealism, and dared them to believe in something better.

Just like young people in the U.S. are massively supporting Bernie Sanders, a man old enough to be their grandfather, for the same reasons...

For they do want to believe.

And they are finally rising up, and fighting to save and change the world they will inherit.

Which couldn't be greater, and I couldn't be prouder of them.

But the challenge now is to keep that youthful flame burning, all the way to the next election. Which won't be easy. 

Because many young people are easily distracted, and easily discouraged. So they need to be shown that their vote really did make a difference. And that their dreams of a better future were not in vain.

Which is why I am always relentlessly optimistic, choosing always to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. 

Why I praise the achievements of the Trudeau Liberals even though I didn't vote for them.

And why I gently chastise some progressives who would rate a government like a grocery list or a high school essay, and would smother the hopes of the young with their early, easy disappointment. Or their deathly cynicism.

Young Canadians need to see their government do something about their lousy jobs, or the crushing weight of student loans. They need to see action on legalizing marijuana. They need to see more done to save the planet for them and their children

But symbolic actions like these are also important.

For they keep that youthful idealism burning, and ensure that it will help power us to victory in the next election.

And the best news? If we can keep that hope alive, if we can encourage young Canadians to stay engaged.

They will help us destroy the Cons once and for all.

And the future WILL belong to us...

Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.


  1. Anonymous10:00 AM

    When JT was sworn in at Rideau Hall, I noticed that besides being sworn in as PM, he had the portfolio of Minister of Youth. Loved it! MSM did not seem to take any notice. I think too many continue to under estimate our PM. I think he, more than many, understands the importance of youth. Like you Simon, he sees it. With his respect for Charter and bringing back the long form census just a few of his plans to maintain the youth vote, and build on. Ideals and informed decision making, I think that that's how we maintain a youth vote. A demographic that becomes a segment of the population that votes and that are engaged in political system. Unfortunately, too much nay say from cons turns people off. But Sunny Ways can fight this!

    Cheers to our lovely Canada


    1. Hi TS...I had forgotten about his Minister of Youth title. But it's a good idea because he can relate to young people better than any other politician I have ever seen. Justin has a great opportunity to harness the future, but as I said in my post there is a danger. The young are idealistic, but that idealism can turn quickly to disillusionment and cynicism. We have four years to get it right or lose it all in a generational conflict nobody needs....

  2. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Always invest in youth. This is what the Harperites don't understand. It is the party of angry old flaccid men. By definition it means their precious base is shrinking (no pun intended).

    Over 60s, white privileged, and prejudiced is not a base I would invest in for the future. Better to appeal to the young who will be around for several more elections. It's just pure demographics supported by basic math. How much longer is Harper's base going to be around? idiots!

    1. Anonymous5:01 PM

      But what if you're over 60, white, semi-privileged because we have a pension and hate the Cons because you've had long enough to work out they're a bunch of ideologues with no conscience? We're a growing demographic, and there's careers to be made looking after our old bones and extracting our savings. It all fits together - that's what an economy's about, making the money go round and round. Making a bald statement about investing in youth and not in the old shows a complete lack of understanding of basic economics. Sorry.

    2. Hi anon 11.01 AM... We should be investing in youth, but we live in an aging society so it's very easy to ignore them. I don't think a lot of Canadians realize how hard life has become for the twenty something generation. Many are forced to work two or three jobs because they can't get enough hours or money. All jobs are classified as temporary so they can send you home at any time in your shift, and needless to say there are no benefits. If something isn't done the situation will lead us all to a very bad place...

    3. Hi anon 5:01....I have written more posts about why we need to do more to help seniors than I have about how to help the young. I believe in helping BOTH. But as somebody who deals with both groups I see that the needs of the young are being ignored. We are in danger of creating a lost generation, and that won't help seniors or anybody....