The attraction for the left youth vote among Liberals and the NDP could be a key factor in this election.

With a federal election scheduled for Sept. 20 and parties vying for voter support, a large cohort of voters may turn out to be the most influential: those in the 18- to 34-year-old crowd.

With many right-wing supporters staying loyal to the conservatives, the battle for younger left-wing voters It could be a key factor in these elections, especially if they come out in force compared to previous elections.

As of press time, neither the NDP, liberals, nor conservatives responded National Observer of CanadaInterview request on the parties’ strategy to attract younger voters.

Rachel Sultana, 21, a fourth-year psychology student at the University of Waterloo, voted in the 2019 election and plans to vote this time.

Rachel Sultana, a fourth-year psychology student at the University of Waterloo.  Photo courtesy of Rachel Sultana
Rachel Sultana, a fourth-year psychology student at the University of Waterloo, says she could vote strategically. Photo courtesy of Rachel Sultana

Although Sultana’s views align with the NDP, he is concerned about splitting the vote and ending up with a conservative majority government.

“Even though Canada has multiple parties, it is still a two-party system,” says Sultana. “I would rather have a liberal government than a conservative government, especially with a lot of things that (conservative leader) Erin O’Toole has said. He is not someone I want in power. “

In previous elections, strategic voting has been used to prevent a certain party from winning. In the case of NDP supporters, it has meant that some liberals vote to stop the Conservatives win.

“As much as some people disagree or believe it, every vote really matters. I think that by getting more young people to vote, it will make us seem more … like a real threat, ”he says.

Sultana says that NDP leader Jagmeet Singh does a great job of reaching young people through social media.

“I follow it on Tik Tok. I saw his “Between us ” stream he did it with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, ”says Sultana. “It’s a really good way to reach a younger audience, especially that younger demographic … they’re trying to get out … to vote because I don’t know how many people my age necessarily have a subscription to a physical newspaper, or it will even go out to physical events.

The federal NDP is reaching young voters on TikTok, writes @CamillaBains. The question is, will they vote? # Elxn44 #cdnpoli

“But if you’re doing something that they already participate in every day, I think it’s a really good way to get involved with younger voters.”

Sultana says that many young people may avoid voting because they think it won’t make any difference.

“There are specific things that affect us when elections are called and if someone else comes to power. For example, the NDP has a campaign promise for dental care and universal basic income. I know that many people my age are not covered by insurance. Another thing is student loans. The NDP wants to reduce student debt; I haven’t even finished my fourth year and I have $ 30,000 in student loans. “

The Liberal Party platform also targets students, promising to waive full and part-time student interest on the federal portion of Canadian student loans and Canadian apprenticeship loans until March 2023.

Lucas Reyes, a fourth-year journalism student at Ryerson, previously voted for the Liberals, but says he will now support the NDP.

Ryerson senior Lucas Reyes says he will change his vote from Liberal to NDP. Photo courtesy of Lucas Reyes

“I am trying to make more conscious decisions and do better. I just didn’t agree with my last voting choice. I lean a little more on the progressive side of things, personally, on social issues and also on economic issues. I like where the NDP is going a bit more than (the liberals). The Conservative Party is definitely off the books for me. “

Reyes says that some of the issues he is passionate about are climate change, indigenous reconciliation and fighting racism, all of which he says the NDP is addressing.

“We see how indigenous peoples are still being treated to this day,” Reyes says. “All kinds of communities are still being marginalized today and (there are) people trying to act like that just doesn’t happen.”

Another topic Reyes is passionate about is wealth inequality and he says, “I’m tired of seeing billionaires out there while we have people left homeless in a pandemic.”

Singh has previously addressed this topic, promising to close corporate tax loopholes.

The Liberal Party also makes multiple mentions of tax loopholes, including a national agency to investigate and enforce federal tax laws.

The challenges

Survey expert David coletto, Director of Abacus facts, says that while they may be important, there is no strong evidence that young Canadians turn out to vote in greater numbers than in the last two federal elections.

David Coletto on the potential impacts of young voters in the 2021 federal elections.

In 2015, 57.1% of voters between the ages of 18 and 24 cast their vote., while in 2019, 53.9 percent of the same age group went out to vote.

The NDP has been using social media not just to campaign, but also to encourage young Canadians to go to polling stations.

While the Liberal and Conservative parties have been largely using Facebook in your campaigns, the NDP has been using other online platforms to reach the younger cohort of voters, including Tik Tok.

Screenshot of the advertisement of the Liberal Party, targeting climate change.
Screenshot of a Liberal Party ad on climate change.

According to a National Observer analysis of Elections Canada Party Quarterly Financial Results, the Liberals raised more than $ 6.8 million during the first six months of this year compared to $ 3.2 million for the NDP.

The lack of money compared to its two main rivals may help explain why the NDP is more active on social media platforms like TikTok, where they don’t have to pay to reach their audience.

The NDP has been smart in its tactics to reach young voters. Even if they appear to be involved in politics on social media, their real impact will be felt if they go to the polls to vote.

“Today, with young people having access to social media, they just have a lot more information,” says Sultana. “I think a lot of young people are much more interested politically (than) maybe 10 or 20 years ago.”

With files from David McKie and Nora Legrand

To contact Camilla Bains regarding ideas and leads for stories, please email [email protected]

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