Our Future, Our Voice: A message to my fellow youth

Thu, 19 Sep 2013

Jackie Pichette
Research and Communications Officer, SFU Public Square

The majority of youth in BC are opting not use their political voice. As fewer young voters are showing up to cast ballots, it’s no surprise that governments are spending less time and money to serve youth interests.

According to Generation Squeeze, governments spend just $12k on benefits and services for each Canadian aged 45 and under, compared to nearly $45k for citizens over age 65 (fun fact: nationally, those between ages 65-74 have the highest voter turnout).  And it doesn’t take more than a quick look at our provincial and national government priorities to discern who’s inspiring our policies –  it certainly isn’t young people.

There are a lot of theories as to why youth aren’t voting. The ones I hear most are that young people don’t know enough about politics or they simply aren’t interested. But after chatting with youth across Metro Vancouver in preparation for the Our Future, Our Voice forum, I don’t buy it.

The young people I’ve had the pleasure of “jamming” with over the past few months have a good grasp on the issues we face, and many have fantastic ideas for change. They’re interested in environmental protection, globalization, addressing inequality, and improving education systems. Some worry about finding jobs that align with their values, while others are confident in our potential to transition to a low-carbon economy.

Meeting and chatting with people my own age (25) and younger, I’ve realized that while not all of us are interested in politics per se, we all have interests that are political.

If you’re anything like the young people I know, and have gotten to know these past few months, I can say with confidence:

You know more than you realize.
You have good ideas.
You can help make a better future.

You just have to use your voice.

If you're between 16 and 25, I hope you'll join us on September 28th to learn about our economy and help drive positive change in BC.

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