Apathy Kills!

During the 2011 election, fewer than 40% of Canadian youth voted. Over 60% of people between the ages of 18-24 failed to use their political voices to make a decision about their future leader.

And this is important.

As a political scientist, of course I’m going to say that you need to vote. But as a student, as a Canadian, as a minority, as someone who cares and thinks that it is relevant to care about foreign policy, minimum wages, healthcare and more, then I’m going to say this: you need to vote.

We all have something we complain about every day.



Yes, we’re annoying. But maybe we have the right to do this. As students, we make up one of the largest demographics in Canadaif you can’t already tell by the amount of student debt continuously accumulating. We're also a group that’s thrown into the world so fast, and so easily that it becomes confusing and overwhelming both before and after we’ve completed our post secondary education.

However, political apathy kills this right. If we’re not going to speak up for our concernsmeaning, do something for our complaintsthen we’re just straight up being annoying.

As a generation that has beliefs and hopes embedded in us by those who have come before us, and as a generation that is looked at as role models by those who have come after us, we’re kind of a big deal.

Not only is this sad, but it’s concerning. Political apathy affects so many youth today even though our access to media makes politics the most accessible in years. But it isn’t just youth to blame either. Politicians may not make that great of an effort to relate to the youth of today. Most likely because of youth apathy, they realize it’s not worth the time to spend, trying to convince a group of kids who simply don’t care.

So we have to make them realize it.

Rallies, protests, petitionsthat’s one way. Voting, well, that’s just another. For once, lets be part of a statistic. Let’s want to.

This year was my first federal election that I was eligible to vote in. During the advanced polls the process was simple. I went in with my ID, handed in my voter’s cardwhich I actually kept because I like to be symbolic like thattook the ballot and went behind the screen. Now, I have often worked for the elections, and am well aware of the process. I never thought that going behind that voting screen would have such an effect on me. No, I did not cry for the beauty of civic duty, but… I wanted to. Putting down that 'X' was a moment I have been looking forward to for some time. Even though my riding might not turn out whom I wanted, and even though yours may not either, it must be kept in mind that every single vote becomes part of a statistic that sends one hell of a message to the government.

But sometimes, that’s all that matters.

Canadians across the nation have been urging youth to vote. One of my all-time favourite Canadians, Rick Mercer, has even started a campaign called “Vote Nation” (http://votenation.ca/). This allows youth to make a profile picture as their promise to vote on October 19, 2015. CBC’s “Pledge to Vote” (http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/pledge-to-vote/) allows you to share with other Canadians across the country the reason why you’re voting. Just one, simple reason.

Thankfully, it’s not just me pushing against the apathy wagon. The advanced polls last weekend saw over 3.5 million people vote. That’s a 71% increase in voters from 2011! Come October 19th, the rush is expected to continue, and the numbers are expected to increase. This election sees all contenders in (almost) dead heat. If weyouthcould get out there and spend twenty minutes or less of our day to get out there and write a single 'X', then we could be the reason this election results in a majority. And, even if it's not the majority we wanted, well, hey, at least we get the right to complain. 

References and Images: