At the beginning of this month I emailed the office of the Prime Minister asking what he intended to do about the lack of interest young people have in regards to voting. I also emailed the Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservative Party of Canada, and the New Democrat Party of Canada asking the same question. I then telephoned Halton’s M.P., Lisa Raitt, and again asked the exact same question.
You may be asking, “Why should you care about this?” Well, this is an election year, and a lot of grade twelves at this school will be able to vote come October. I gave the three largest parties in the land and our own Member of Parliament a chance to say what they wanted to get the next generation out voting for them. I was naïve enough to assume that they would rush at the chance for those votes. I’ve seen the recent polls, the Liberal and Conservative parties are in a dead heat. It follows that these parties would take any advantage they could get, right?
WRONG! I did not receive a response from any of them.
In the last federal election only 38.8% of people aged 18-24 voted. In recent history, youth voters have been the smallest demographic. This is a problem as it creates a vicious cycle. Political parties and politicians see the apathy of the young so they don’t bother pursuing the youth vote because it doesn’t matter. The youth see that the politicians aren’t pursuing them so they don’t vote. The cycle continues on and on, year after year, election after election.
This is my call to action. When you turn eighteen and when an election comes around, vote. Get informed, go to the polling booth, and cast that ballot. If you want the cycle to end, vote. If you are tired of politicians not caring about your ideas for where this country should go, vote. If you want young people to be treated as more than just a demographic that politicians don’t need to worry about, vote. If you want your voice to be heard, vote.
We have a right in this country for our government to answer us when we have questions. That is why you can send a letter to your M.P. free of charge. We are entitled to a response to our questions. And yet this newspaper, and the school community, appear to have not been eligible for a response because of the age group we represent. It think that it’s time we change that, and we can only do that through voting and getting our collective voices heard.
For the success of a democracy, all that is required is the involvement of the citizenry. For the success of a dictatorship, all that is required is the exact opposite. It is time for us to get involved.