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GenerationZ took the biggest hit from COVID-19 but Youthful Cities analysis shows federal parties still prioritize older votes in the 2021 election
Heading into the Canadian Federal Election, youth have been dealing with an enormous amount of pressure in addition to the continued impacts of the pandemic.
During the pandemic, youth saw:
on top of:
meanwhile, they are:
Yet youth are often labeled as disengaged due to their lower voter turnout (53.9% in 2019 compared to 79.1% for 65-74 age demographic)
Number of voting stations open on university and college campuses for 2021 federal election: 0
Based on our analysis our prediction for youth voter turnout in 2021: 51.2% (down 2.7%)
We should all be concerned by the lack of youth-directed engagement we are witnessing from the federal leaders. We are letting youth down and Canada will suffer in the short and long term as a result.
The issues that youth prioritize
*The entirety of this content was sourced through the candidate party platforms: Green, NDP, Liberal, Conservative and Bloc Quebecois as well as through Maclean’s federal election platform guide. Check out these platforms to read about general and non-youth-related policies being proposed.
*The table above and analysis below, are meant to highlight policies and programs that have been explicitly dedicated to youth, as outlined in the party platforms, specifically those relating to the 6 priority areas that youth identified in the Pivot Survey.
*Please note this analysis does not assess the quality or quantity of policies or programs. Each voter should review carefully.
While analyzing these party platforms it surprised me how few parties addressed Youth directly. I wonder if the lack of direct communication with Youth around the complexity of the issues we face is a contributor to the low rates of turnout we see at the polls from youth voters (53.9% for ages 18–24 in the 2019 Federal Election). For a group of people that have been so deeply affected by Covid-19 and has so many obstacles to navigate today, including employment and finding a career, cost of housing, cost of education, climate change and systemic barriers of oppression, compounded by the recent decision to remove polling stations from College and University campuses, Youth issues and voice felt widely overlooked by our political parties and their candidates.
I found the lack of youth focus in party policies to be a shame, as not only are parties not addressing the largest voting bloc , but there isn’t enough effort to help youth untangle the political landscape. The communications through the parties in this short window for campaigning have resembled, and maybe even perpetuated, the polarization that we are seeing in Canada’s political landscape. My concern is around why there isn’t a larger effort from parties to help young people, who are voting for the first time, understand what is at stake for them and make sense of how their vote affects their communities.
As the party platforms address broad issues that young people have been outspoken on, and policies make an attempt to support and sympathize with the demographic, these platforms miss out on setting actionable items that would put youth in the leaders’, innovators’, and change-makers’ seats. While it is the inequitable systems that need to be addressed that continue to impact youth prosperity from housing to education to health and more, youth are seen as a burden rather than those having lived experiences and future-ready skills. The parties miss out on supporting youth as the potential driving force towards change and innovation for equitable governance and cooperation, digitalization, and sustainability transformations in our communities, cities, and country inclusively.
To be able to vote in this federal election, you have to be a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years old on election day, and be able to prove your identify and address (with a valid ID)
The Secret Ballot is a fundamental part of our election process, meant to protect voters. It is illegal to take a selfie with a marked ballot, but you can take a picture with one of the Elections Canada signs outside the voting station to show that you voted, and encourage your friends to do the same.
It is the law that everyone who is eligible to vote must have three consecutive paid hours off to cast their vote on election day.
Unfortunately this year Elections Canada’s Vote on Campus program has been cancelled.
Absolutely. Every vote matters. Elections Canada collects data on the age and gender of voters, and Political Parties use this data to know whose vote they need to win, and therefore which policies they should focus on. The more youth vote, the more those Parties recognize they need to create youth-specific policies to earn those votes.