So You Think Canadian Youth Are Apathetic About the Election?
The idea that Canadian young adults are apathetic about the election keeps coming up but we don’t believe that to be true. And we can prove it. Actually they are proving it. Everyday there is a new flash mob, video, viral campaign, Facebook group, etc. that is surfacing from this underrepresented group. The overwhelming message is that they want to be taken seriously, they care about the country, they are frustrated with the leadership and are pining for a leader they can truly believe in.
This group of voters is marginalized through a variety of means. Here are just a few:
- The continued methods of pollsters to only call landlines excludes many of us but this group in particular, as few have, or ever will have landlines. This shifts the polls and ensures that issues concerning this demographic are not even on the table.
- Despite the success of Nenshi and Obama’s digital campaigns, which brought out record numbers of young voters, the Canadian political parties are only using social media in very rudimentary ways. In fact, the Tory’s are actually using this against the young voters when they do things such as them out of Conservative rallies for posting pictures of themselves with leaders from other parties. This is not congruent with how they use these media, nor with their worldview.
- The issues themselves are not directed towards this group. Not one mention was made during the debates about the younger voters or issues that are important to them. Most of the issues seem directed towards a middle class, middle aged, suburban population.
- There is no official push towards getting the youth to vote. Voting is at an all time low, and this demographic is among the lowest, yet all the efforts I see for getting the youth out to vote are not coming from the government but through outside sources. This isn’t to say that other groups shouldn’t be encouraging or educating the youth to vote BUT our government should be a big part of a pro-vote movement as well.
Rick Mercer talked eloquently about the situation and his part in getting the youth to get involved:
Here are a few youth based initiatives that are focusing on the 2011 election. Please feel free to add to the list:
SHIT HARPER DID
WHAT WE DO:
Your Message (Concern for others) + A Few Jokes (Humour) + Packaged Within Social Media (Friends)
WHO WE ARE:
We assemble a diverse team of creative & technical talent for every project. The client is on the team & the intended audience is on the team. Our services are unique because we are unique. We are, professional campaigners, filmmakers, comedians, marketers, web designers, animators, actors & musicians.
THEIR MAJOR EVENTS:
Hilarious videos and a website encouraging the youth to get out and vote and outlining the ‘shit Harper has done’.
Across the the country university groups are organizing vote mobs to get their fellow students to the ballot box. Here are a couple of examples but there and more everyday – and if you consider that they are in the midst of the year end exams I think it gives you the idea that they do care and are willing to get out there.
APATHY IS BORING
Revolutionizing democracy through art & technology.
Apathy is Boring is a national non-partisan project. Our mission is to use art & technology to educate youth about democracy.
Apathy is Boring aims to meet the following Youth in Democracy Goals:
Increase youth voting rates.
Increase youth engagement in their communities.
Build a sustainable dialogue between youth and elected officials.
Leadnow brings generations of Canadians together to take action for our future and hold politicians accountable.
Leadnow was founded in 2010 by a group of young people who care about a wide range of issues and wanted to create a new way for people to participate effectively in our democracy.
Our founding objectives are to deepen our democracy, strengthen our communities, advance social justice, extend economic opportunity and protect our planet. We’ll build an independent community that works together to help set the political agenda, take effective action on important issues, and shift elections.
Still think the youth are apathetic? Or do we all need to work together to make sure ALL our voices are heard by our government…