Politicians must do more to address the priorities of Canada’s largest voting block - Alyssa Scanga
Updated: Aug 5, 2020
What exactly do young people care about? What are their priorities, going forward into a post-COVID world? Why does the idea of going ‘back to normal’ fill them with dread?
Well, let me tell you.
My name is Alyssa and I am eighteen years old. My peers and I have grown up in Whitby volunteering at our community events, working hard at school and enjoying all the town has to offer. With life’s fast pace, and in a time where the future is particularly uncertain, the world may be forgiven for not noticing that its children are not children any longer. But now it is time to see us for the adults that we are.
Young people are empathetic, resilient, and acutely aware of the world we are growing up in.
Millennials and Generation Z (those between 18 and 37 years of age) made up nearly 38% of the electorate in the 2019Federal election. With another election looming in the coming year or two, we can and will cast our votes for the politicians whose vision matches ours.
What does our vision look like? In conversations I have had with my peers and Future Majority volunteers in Whitby, it’s addressing the income gap, universal mental healthcare, affordable access to post-secondary education and meaningful climate action.
COVID-19 has disrupted our society to a degree that hasn’t been seen since World War Two. Every facet of our lives has changed, simple things twisted and made practically unrecognizable. How could the world possibly go back to normal now?
The short answer is: it can’t, and we don’t want it to. What we have now is an opportunity to recognize what was not working and build something better. ‘Business as usual’ has already been disrupted. The pandemic has made young people acutely aware of the ways the government touches their lives every day. Now is the time to turn to the youth, the visionaries, the ones who not only can imagine a better way to be, but have the nerve and drive to make it happen.
Coming out of COVID-19, we want a world where we don’t graduate university with crushing debt and enter a world with no jobs to be found. We want a world where we don’t need to choose between buying groceries and paying our rent. A world where we don’t feel like everything we do is futile, because climate change is threatening our existence, and we are not doing enough to address it.
Right here in Whitby, a group of passionate young people are working with Future Majority to do just that. We ran a virtual town hall in June with politicians representing Whitby. By ensuring representatives consult directly with their constituents, this town hall will help create a Canada that is just, equitable and healthy for everyone.
A public servant, by definition, must have the interests of the public at heart. Politicians rise and fall at the hand of the people. They rely on us. We don’t give them our votes: they need to earn them. In a competitive constituency like Whitby, where every ballot cast could be the difference between success and failure, it would be a grave error to ignore the demands of the largest voting bloc - now is the time to actively prioritize them. We have power.
So please, ask us what we want. We’re (quite literally) dying to tell you.