Incomplete Thought #3: Which comes first: next generation voting, or civility in politics?

Next generation voter turnout rates are bad in Canada at all level of elections – student government to federal government.

I think this is for a combination of many reasons. Some logistical: it’s a bit of a pain for university students who live and/or spend the majority of their time NOT in their home riding. Some apathetical: there doesn’t seem to be a direct impact on their lives, and their one vote wouldn’t change anything. Some related to frustration: being so disgusted with the decorum of politics that voting for anyone makes their skin crawl.

Note to politicians

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Because youth don’t come out to vote like other age groups, the youth vote isn’t targeted (and if it is, it would seem that all the next generation cares about is marijuana and tuition). Sure it might be pandered too, but not properly courted. I used to argue that in order to attract the youth vote, politicians needed to make politics more civil, more engaging. But now, I think I’m with Rick Mercer. Youth need to turnout to vote first. Eventually, the pandering will follow.

It is the conventional wisdom of all political parties that young people will not vote. And the parties, they like it that way.

So please, if you are between the age of 18 and 25, and you want to scare the hell out of the people that run this country, this time around, do the unexpected. Take 20 minutes out of your day and do what young people all over the world are dying to do. Vote.

So which should come first? Young voters turning out? Or civil, engaging, relevant politics? Who owes what to whom?


The Incomplete Thought Series is, well, a series of incomplete thoughts. These are thoughts I have not researched, but which have popped into my head and am interested in discussing. Your incomplete or complete thoughts are encouraged.