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Young people, those forgotten in the electoral campaign

Aged 18 and in her first year at the Metropolitan University of Toronto, Zoha Naghar finds this situation all the more regrettable as she believes that young people have particularly suffered from the pandemic.

Many students have had limited access to the resources that educational institutions usually provide, especially with regard to universities and colleges, but they continue to pay the same amount of tuition feesshe explains.

I feel like we’re paying a lot more than we should, we’re not getting the resources we’re entitled to. »

A quote from Zoha Naghar, student

Zoha Naghar is concerned about both environmental issues and tuition fees.

Photo: Courtesy of Zoha

Zoha Naghar who is also concerned about environmental issues thinks young people need to get involved and vote because today’s politicians, who are not part of their generation, make promises they don’t keep and make decisions that consequences will be experienced by the younger generations.

An opinion shared by Aliénor Rougeot. The 23-year-old environmental activist deplores the fact that climate issues have not been more present since the start of the electoral campaign, even castigating the fact that certain parties are proposing electoral platforms that go in the opposite direction.

There are parties that still think we should be in a time when we have more cars, more highways and less nature. That to me is pretty eliminatoryshe decides.

Count for little

Aliénor Rougeot says he is very worried every time the IPCC produces a new report on climate change and wonders if the parties are reading these reports.

More generally, the young woman affirms that the electoral platforms and the means of communication of the major political parties do not give the impression that young people are an electorate that counts.

When most people who want to be elected talk about youth, they often talk about it by saying: “your children”. In fact, he talks to adults by talking about your children. But there is this whole age group where we are no longer just the children of, but also voters. I have the impression that very little is addressed to usshe explains.

I could expect ads on social media. One would expect techniques that companies know how to do when they want to reach young people and where parties do not. »

A quote from Aliénor Rougeot, Youth Strikes for Climate Coordinator in Toronto
Aliénor Rougeot, coordinator of Youth Strikes for the Climate in Toronto, answers questions from a journalist in a park.

Aliénor Rougeot regrets the political parties’ lack of emphasis on climate and environmental issues during the campaign.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Jamey Essex is a professor of political science at the University of Windsor. He confirms that young people are not a major target at the moment for political parties and attributes this to the fact that many of their concerns are those of other segments of the population.

The cost of higher education, for example (the cost of living), the possibility of buying a first house, has become very expensive, especially in the Toronto region. I think the concerns are the same as for other voters and there is no particular interest in young voters as a grouphe explains.

Conservatives don’t really need them [pour être majoritaires] and the other parties have not yet found a way to talk to them. »

A quote from Jamey Essex, Professor of Political Science

Mr Essex says the pandemic has had some effect on election priorities. He notes that the proposals of the Progressive Conservatives in terms of infrastructure do not go in the direction of protecting the environment.

Jamey Essex via videoconference.

Jamey Essex thinks that some parties could suffer from the lack of mobilization of young people.

Photo: Elvis Nouemsi Njike

He also notes that neither the Liberals nor the NDP really put forward environmental policies, being too busy trying to catch up with the Progressive Conservative Party, which forces them to deal mainly with economic issues.

Les libéraux ont parlé de réduire les frais de transport en commun, ce qui de manière tangible est une question environnementale, mais ils ne l’ont pas présenté ainsi”,”text”:”L’environnement est vu comme un sujet à part et ils [les partis] ne l’intègrent pas réellement dans les autres choses qu’ils font. Les libéraux ont parlé de réduire les frais de transport en commun, ce qui de manière tangible est une question environnementale, mais ils ne l’ont pas présenté ainsi”}}”>The environment is seen as a separate subject and they [les partis] don’t really incorporate it into the other things they do. The Liberals talked about cutting public transit fares, which tangibly is an environmental issue, but they didn’t put it that wayhe explains.

Encourage voting

Be that as it may, at Western University in London, we try to help as many students as possible to vote. The student council of the university has even set up a campaign along these lines called Get out to vote.

Eunice Oladejo is the council’s vice president for external affairs. She says her organization wants to make sure students know what voting is and how to vote.

We tell them where they can find party platforms, what issues we are fighting forshe points out.

Eunice Oladejo smiling.

Eunice Oladejo wants to help young people at her university to vote.

Photo: Courtesy of Eunice Oladejo

She says the board also makes sure to educate students on topics that matter to them like affordability, racial equity or gender issues.

Despite this, Jamey Essex does not expect to see significant youth turnout in this election, which could be damaging for the Liberals, NDP and Greens, who are already lagging behind the Progressive Conservatives, and for whom young people most often tend to vote, he points out.

For its part, Elections Ontario says it is working to eliminate barriers to voting for all voters.

In an email sent to Radio-Canada, the organization states that students in Ontario who live away from their residence for their studies have the option of voting in the electoral district of their residence or in the electoral district of their residence for studies.

Students who wish to vote in the electoral district of their domicile, but who are too far to travel, can do so by filling out an application to vote by mail. »

A quote from Excerpt from Elections Ontario email.

Elections Ontario also says it held 52 events in March on campuses across Ontario as part of Voter Registration Month to encourage students to register on the voters lists in particular.

In the meantime, Aliénor Rougeot wants young people to mobilize and relies on education for this. Education, another subject which should have been, according to her, at the heart of the electoral campaign.

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