Cooper Price was supposed to be old enough to vote in the upcoming federal election, but the young climate activist will have to skip another after Liberal leader Justin Trudeau called snap elections over the weekend.

Price, who is entering grade 12, is nonetheless convinced that the campaign should involve politicians who indicate what they will do to avoid the worst environmental impacts of our industrial activity, which he hopes will include an immediate end to subsidies for fossil fuels and the beginning of a phase-out. of the industry.

“If leaders, particularly Trudeau, don’t focus this on climate change, there will be a lot of young voters who will be completely disenchanted with their party,” said Price, who has played a leadership role in Toronto. school strike movement.

“If this is not a climate choice, then I really don’t know what it could be, given everything that has been going on,” he said, referring to a series of recent heat waves, wildfires and other extreme weather conditions, as well as the latest dire warning from the global scientific community.

Trudeau, for his part, made clear in his speech for a majority government after two years of minority rule that “the decisions your government makes at this time will define the future in which your children and grandchildren will grow up.”

Younger voters in this early stage are just as interested in the campaign as those in their 30s and 59s, while those in their 60s are much more likely to participate, according to an Abacus Data poll.

Voters under 30 are just as interested in the campaign as those 30-59, but the 60-plus cohort say they are even more interested. Abacus source data

For Allie Rougeot, another climate activist, politics should have less to do with lofty words and long-term goals and more to do with what the government plans to do to help real people deal with an ongoing crisis.

“What I have not seen at all is a recognition of what it will take from governments to act on the climate,” he said, adding that a climate lens must be applied to all policies.

“If this isn’t a climate choice, then I really don’t know what it could be, given everything that’s been going on,” says Cooper Price. #YouthVote # Election2021 #ClimateCrisis #COVID

“I’d like to see an economy-wide, nationwide approach where every time we do something, we understand that it’s going to have a climate risk or a climate benefit,” he said.

Younger people, who make up about 40 percent of the population, will also want to know how a recovery from COVID-19 will help them land stable, well-paying jobs, and how to deal with growing affordability challenges.

They were hard hit by job losses when the pandemic first hit, and have been slower to return to the workforce, with many young people working in industries affected by public health restrictions.

“We are concerned about a bleak future, characterized by the gig economy, huge student debt and unaffordable housing,” said Bronwyn Heerspink, regional director of Future Majority, a youth advocacy group that seeks to influence post-pandemic politics.

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Future Majority had said after the initial shutdown that it wanted those in power to know that young people want better delivery of mental health services and a guaranteed minimum income, more affordable postsecondary education and more racial justice, after two months. of surveys to its 52,000 members. and other youth groups.

Sophia Koukoulas, communications and stakeholder relations manager at First Work youth employment network, said the uncertainty of youth employment can create financial insecurity and poor mental health.

“More than anything, young people want to be heard in this election, not to be left behind in policy discussions,” he said, noting that his focus extends beyond a stable environment.

“Today’s youth are concerned about the nature of work and well-being, with a special focus on equity for populations with barriers,” he said. “This means a renewed focus for young people in the transition from school to employment, so that their career paths are not limited to the limits of obtaining a post-secondary education.”

Morgan Sharp / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada National Observer

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