Youth vote can turf Tories this year

Many will remember me as the Senate page who held up the “Stop Harper” sign during a throne speech. Frustrated with politics as usual, I felt that I could not trust the political system, much less Harper.

I understood why most see voting as futile. In the 2011 election when I was a University of Ottawa student, someone asked me to volunteer to go door-knocking. But I really didn’t see the point.

Since then, I’ve had a change in heart. After four years under the current government, I now want to do everything in my power to see a government that does reflect our values.

About 1.8 million eligible youth didn’t vote in 2011. In contrast, the Conservatives took the majority government by only 6,201 votes across 308 ridings. A wave of young voters in 2015 stands to be the election game-changer nobody saw coming. Just look at the 2011 election results for the Ontario riding of Nipissing-Timiskaming. The Conservative candidate took it by only 36 votes. But there are 5,300 students on the campus of Nipissing University. Imagine that just one floor of residents on campus has the power to decide that race!

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We are young voters, and we are here to recruit you

A new campaign is here to take the young people who ignored the ballot boxes last time around and transform them into voters, in time for the next federal election.

Over one million eligible young adults did not vote in the last federal election. If a new initiative works, many of the young people who ignored the ballot boxes last time around will be transformed into voters when an election is called.

  The Council of Canadians has recently launched a Get Out the Youth Vote campaign. In 2011, the Conservatives won a majority government by just over 6,000 votes across Canada’s 308 ridings. With the party winning only 39.6% of the popular vote, many Canadians were left scratching their heads, perplexed at how exactly that translated into a majority government. The 2011 election saw a voter turnout of 61.1%. Among youth, a modest 38.8% cast a ballot in the election.

Brigette DePape is a political activist known for her “Stop Harper” action when she was a parliamentary page. She is also the coordinator of Get Out the Youth Vote.“Youth have the power to be game changers in the next election [by electing] a government that really reflects our values,” she explains.

She notes that if youth indeed, get out and change the game with their votes that, “[we] could see parties that are protecting the environment and parties that are critical of war.”

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