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Federal leaders focusing on young voters as election timing impacts demographic

The vote-on-campus program will not run during this federal election.
advance polling ryerson
An advance polling station for the 2019 federal election at Ryerson University, Toronto, Ont., Oct. 9, 2019

There are now two young generations to focus on when it comes to attracting support for younger voters in the upcoming election.

According to University of Fraser Valley Political Science Professor Hamish Telford, Millennials are focused more on general living expenses, whereas Gen Z voters are focused more on civil rights.

“Millennials — who are a bit older — perhaps are trying to get into the housing market and that is going to be a huge issue for them,” Telford says. “Millennials a little bit older than that could also be experiencing, you know, issues around childcare. So I think that those would be two very big issues for them.

“Gen Zed voters, I think would have concerns about the cost of university, climate change, and other social justice issues.”

However, Telford adds, back to school may clash with the federal election as many young voters who are in post-secondary might be pre-occupied and possibly hold off from voting.

“Huge numbers of Gen Zed people are going to be on the move, going to college and university, and people may not know [or] may not get their, their electric cards, may not know where the voting stations are and may have pre other preoccupations.”

In the 2019 federal election, Elections Canada had already reported a slight decrease in voter turnout among Canadians aged 18 to 24, and Telford believes their turnout will decrease again.

But if this demographic can make it to the polls, Telford suggests NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has established a strong online presence that can benefit him.

However, Telford adds not to forget about the second Trudeaumania in 2015.

He also found a poll that shows Conservative leader Erin O’Toole garnering some support from our young voters, but it’s a bit of a double-edged sword.

“I have heard about that level of support — that conservatives are getting from this demographic — is being driven by young men who oppose vaccine and mask mandates.”

With Trudeau facing some aggressive protest recently, Telford says some of those protestors he suspects are the young supporters of the Conservatives.