By Kayla Perry, Editor-in-Chief
Among the typical memes and food-hack videos that are constantly flooding my Facebook newsfeed, one particular picture has stood out in the month leading up to the federal election.
The picture features Rick Mercer, host of the Mercer Report and a relatively popular Canadian comedian and political commentator, and the text of a large quote.
The quote reads: “If you’re 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 around the world are dying to do. Vote.”
This quote rings true: as young people in Canada, we are currently living in a time of peace, in a beautiful country with health care, constantly-evolving equal rights, and the freedom to say, dress, and act as we please.
We also live in a democratic country, where we have the right to vote, and by extension, the right to have a say in which political party leads our country — and yet, so few young adults take advantage of this opportunity.
While there was a small increase in the percentage of the population that voted in the last election, this increase follows a previously steady decline in voter turnout.
According to bethevote.ca, only 42 percent of young Canadians voted in 2011, although 71 percent said they are dissatisfied with Canadian politics.
Given that youths are the future of democracy and Canada, it’s disheartening to learn that so few young adults in Canada take the time to participate in this key political opportunity.
This plummeting youth vote also makes way for a vicious cycle: the less youth voters are engaged in elections and the more steadily the youth voter participation declines, the less political parties will reach out to youth and cater their platforms towards them — in turn, leaving the youth again disengaged.
This means that issues such as debt, education, environment and economic opportunity — all inarguably issues involving young Canadians — all stand the chance of being disregarded on political agendas, while issues catering to the middle-aged and elderly population continue to rise in importance.
The opportunity to make a choice which will affect the future of the country does not come often — when the opportunity does arrive, it’s all the more crucial that youth voters educate themselves and vote accordingly.
Regardless of what skeptics may argue, each and every ballot cast does count.
On October 19, please be sure to educate yourself, cast your ballot, and vote for the future of our country.