Imagining the October 20th headline

‘Young people vote in record numbers, end 9 years of Conservative rule’

by Brigette DePape

• October 20th is just around the corner. Imagine that day – the one after the election. Imagine that we have done everything in our power to change our country.
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3 reasons why young people should vote.

  • Because our generation wants a change. Over 80% of young people in Canada believe a change in government would be a good idea. If more young people vote in this election, our generation can be game-changers.
  • Because Harper doesn’t want us to. With the so-called Fair Elections Act, he is making it harder for students to vote. The act takes away the ability for people to use voter information cards to prove their address, which tens of thousands of people used in the last election.
  • Because the current government is failing us on the issues we care about. Recent surveys show that the top issues for young people are health care, job creation, taxes, education and training, and the environment. As you can see in our Youth Voter’s Guide, the current government is failing us on these issues, whether it’s cuts to health care or youth employment programs. It’s also failing us on the moral crises of our time, refusing to launch an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and closing our doors to Syrian refugees rather than opening them.

3 reasons why young people did not vote in the last election, but will vote in this election.

  • Because we were busy. The most common reason why young people did not vote in the last election is that they were busy, whether with school, work or taking care of children. In the long run, I think we should be considering structural changes like elections on the weekend, as is done in so many other countries. But I’m hopeful youth will vote this time around if we are able to spread the word about different options for voting. You can vote now at any one of 400 Elections Canada offices. Campus polling stations, which will be on 40 campuses across the country, start on October 5. Advance polling runs from October 9 to 12.
  • Because we were away from our ridings. In addition to all the options above, you can vote by mail, but you need to do so in advance. So do this early!
  • Because we didn’t feel informed enough. Check out our Youth Voter’s Guide to see where the parties stand on different issues.

cartoon: a car brought in for servicing on a racetrack with banners showing all the current political issuesThere are reasons to be afraid. It is an extremely tight race. There is the very real possibility that there will be another Conservative government. But there is also the very real possibility that we will see a change.

There are more reasons to hope. I get hope from meeting people, young people who did not vote in the last election but will be voting for change in this one. Young people who voted in the last election, and this time are committing to bring at least one friend who did not vote. I get hope from the students who are collecting vote pledges on their campuses, or young workers in their workplaces.

Incredible organizing efforts are happening across the country: the ImagineOct 20 concerts; Mrs.Universe Ashley Callingbull calling for voting to defeat Harper; the record number of groups organizing to get out the vote; our national day of action to get out the youth vote on October 5th; and grassroots initiatives to get out the youth vote, like #votingbuddies, where people take selfies and post online to encourage voting with friends. It’s clear that people care and are taking action.

Together, let’s make this change we want happen. Visit www.canadians.org/iwillvote to pledge to vote, and encourage your friends to do the same. Let’s be the game-changers nobody saw coming.

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