There are swear words included in this post, so if it’s not your thing, be warned.
On May 2nd, Canada is holding a federal election. Voter turnout, according to Elections Canada, has been declining for decades, particularly amongst young voters. Youth may not feel connected to our electoral process, but they are not the only ones. Our Prime Minister went so far as to say that Canadians don’t want to go to the polls, even framing an election as a dangerous risk to our economy. Though I’ve always believed that voting is only one part of what it means to be an engaged person (and that it might even be the least important way to work toward change or to protect the values and institutions you believe in), it’s depressing to think that elections have come to mean so little. Even worse, politicians know that they have very few people to answer to electorally.
Into this morass of apathy, a group of young artists, opposed to our current government, is reaching out to disengaged young people with a series of YouTube videos:
They also started a web page.
Following their lead, or perhaps Rick Mercer’s, students are organizing vote mobs on University campuses across the country.
It makes sense that youth are using these Wired Age tools to reach out to each other on these issues, but it remains to be seen if it affects voting behaviour. At the very least, both campaigns seem to have generated a lot more conversation and controversy, for Canadians of all ages, than the two federal leaders’ debates have done.
6 thoughts on “To the Polls?”
I think it’s really important for younger citizens in particular to engage. The great difficulty is that it’s easy to get all involved in a campaign and win and then think the job is done. It’s never done. You have to keep an eye on the tortfeasors. The minute you turn your back, the lobbyists will have them all lined up to undo everything you just got done. It is easier for powerful interests to win in the long run, because they can afford to hire people to do that tedious work. Those hired guns have nothing better to do than to tweak this regulation or unravel that piece of legislation. You and I and the guy over there across the street will always have something better to do, starting with making a living and raising families and cooking supper. Democracy is a difficult proposition.
It’s true – voting is important, but it’s what we do in between elections that determines whether the things we think are important get implemented or preserved.
The important thing is that it has generated a dialogue and that is always a good thing. I hope they achieve their goal and that this is the largest voter turnout in Canadian history, particularly with the youth.
Me too, Elaine. I think social media really helps this dialogue along with youth.