Samantha McCready
Samantha McCready
October 10, 2019

“We have a voice and we can be heard”: Why the student vote matters

Photo by Parker Johnson on Unsplash

The 2019 Canadian federal election is set to take place on October 21, 2019. With the election campaign in full-swing, Canadians are beginning to contemplate who they will be voting for next month. 

Millennials, who are loosely defined as individuals born between the early 1980s and early 2000s (ages 18-34), will make up the largest portion of voters in Canada’s upcoming federal election. 

Despite the large influence young voters have on the election, they have been showing low numbers of votes compared to older populations.  According to Elections Canada, approximately 57 percent of Canadians from ages 18-24 casted votes. Turnout also went up among those aged 25-34, from 45.1 percent in the 2011 federal election to 57.4 percent in the previous election. 

Today’s young people, however, appear to be more interested in politics than previous younger generations. Although millenials are beginning to flex their political muscles, their turnout numbers on voting days continue to lag behind their baby boomer parents. 

Despite this, UNB students are recognizing the importance of young voters. Sean Brennan, a fourth-year kinesiology student, intends to vote in October. 

“I think it is very important for young people to vote because the results of this election will have the greatest effect on our lives, especially with us coming out of university and into the workforce in the upcoming years” said Brennan.

Other students are drawing on the fact that not all countries have the right to vote, so young Canadian citizens should use their right.

 “Young people need to vote as they are the future generation that will be living in this world and can decide what type of government will lead our country,” says Spencer Reagon, a fifth-year Forestry student. 

Students are also showing a strong interest in voting in the upcoming election. Matt Gray, a second-year student in the Faculty of Arts says it will be the first time he’s eligible to vote, “I am really excited to see the outcome”. 

The Time to Be Bold campaign, launched by the Canadian Federation of Students, is a campaign targeted for post-secondary students to urge them to vote in the upcoming election Not only does the campaign hope to push students to vote, it also aims to convince students to vote for candidates who prioritize students’ issues, such as tuition fees and fairness for international students. 

Vanessa Rennie, a fourth-year student in the Faculty of Science is looking for a political candidate who will tackle time-pressing issues.

 “I look for political parties who strive for gender and race equality, housing as a human right and a plan to convert our society to have zero carbon emissions”.

Other students, like Brennan, day they are looking for a party who will focus on issues of all Canadians.

“I look for a potential candidate who cares about issues such as environmental interest and engagement, stabilizing jobs across industries, interests in women’s rights and equality, and supports immigration and various religious beliefs,” says Reagon. 

Because of the weight that young voters carry in the upcoming election, it is crucial that all young voters utilize their right to vote, both for their country and for their futures. 

From October 5th to 9th, the Get out to Vote campaign will have stations open in the Student Union Building on the Fredericton Campus for students to cast their vote. Elections Canada is also offering the Online Voting Registration Service that allows people to easily cast their vote online. 

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