A new report studying Canadians’ political engagement came to the unsurprising conclusion that our country’s youth have no patience for things like joining political parties and contacting their elected officials. In today’s fast-food, self-serve, 3G-WiFi-LTE world, there’s no time to attend political conventions and stump for MPs. We’ve got snaps to chat and dicks to pic, god dammit, who cares about the byelection in the Rural Municipality of Nowheresville? Typical millennials, too plugged in to give a shit about anything around them. The world is burning and our society is going to hell in a handbasket, but does anyone care as long as they can use the wireless at a nearby coffee shop?
Well, yes, actually. Before the major news outlets get too hot and bothered at the prospect of another article about what we’re going to do with these narcissistic millennials, it seems Canada’s youth actually participate more in non-institutional politics than older people. Internet involvement is a gimme: 18-to-34-year-olds are nearly twice as likely to share political stories on Facebook or have a political discussion online as those over 35. Even offline, though, or “IRL” as we usually call it online, kids are protesting and talking as much as — if not more than — the olds.
Perhaps this is because they recognize how long they’ll have to wait for their concerns to matter to the system. Politicians seem to have accepted as fact that older people’s votes are sacred, and thus cater programs to suit them at the expense of future generations. Young people, who currently don’t vote in high numbers, will evidently never vote and therefore do not matter. This reaction as opposed to, say, trying to woo young voters by listening to them and trying to solve the issues that matter to them.
For instance, joblessness among Canada’s youth is disturbingly high and shows few signs of going down any time soon. Student debt is choking recent grads because despite the grim job market prospects, they’re even darker without that fancy university degree.
With politicians largely absent on these issues, it only makes sense for young Canadians to be less invested in a system that seems entirely uninterested in them.
[image via Flickr]