Young NDP Candidates Cut Their Teeth in Short Campaign

With little time to prepare and no local NDP candidates when Justin Trudeau’s Liberals called snap federal elections last month, several Toronto youth had the opportunity to turn their desire for change into a tangible electoral effort.

In Eglinton-Lawrence, in the northwest of the city, Caleb Senneker, 27, hears the frustration of voters who feel that neither the Liberals (who have held the seat for all but four years in the last four decades) nor the Conservatives are vying for your votes or listening to your concerns.

“The reception at the door has inspired me even more,” Senneker said of his daily campaign on a walk that includes several low-income, high-density housing communities. “Hearing what people need and want from their elected officials encourages and saddens me.”

Many residents have told him that they cannot communicate with their deputy, immigration minister in the last federal cabinet Marco Mendicino, or receive an unsatisfactory response to their challenges, he said.

A similar sentiment of insufficient attention to an issue important to Senneker encouraged them to run in the first place, after receiving canned responses from federal, provincial and municipal representatives as he sought further reconciliation actions following the discovery of the remains of hundreds of people. of children buried at former residential school sites earlier this year.

“That pissed me off, that these were people (who) could do something and they weren’t doing something,” he said.

Senneker said he believes that young people approach politics differently than older generations, less tied to a particular party and more likely to vote for solutions to the problems they face.

“They know that our future depends on change. We need to take action on climate change if we want a future, ”they said.

Senneker has shifted his allegiance over time, voting for the Conservatives of Stephen Harper in 2011 and the Liberals of Justin Trudeau in 2015, and he has steadfastly supported the NDP after the Liberals broke their promise of electoral reform.

“I was so excited by the 2015 campaign promises of the Liberals and I voted very passionately for the Liberal Party and had my dreams crushed,” they said.

Christina Love was not old enough to vote in the 2019 elections that reduced the Trudeau government to a minority, so her first chance to vote will be in an election in which she is a candidate.

“The reception at the door has inspired me even more,” says Caleb Senneker of his daily campaign on the Eglinton-Lawrence boulevard, which includes several low-income, high-density housing communities. # elxn44

“I have a great interest in protecting my future, specifically the climate and the environment,” he said. “Those are huge issues, so I wanted to make sure my vote wasn’t going to the status quo.”

He was looking to local candidates to decide who to vote for when he saw that neither the Greens nor the NDP currently had a rival for liberal incumbent Shaun Chen.

The NDP said it could help her obtain the necessary 100 signatures, and initially wanted her to run in Durham as a stark contrast to local MP and Conservative leader Erin O’Toole.

Instead, the 19-year-old is applying for the NDP in Scarborough North, while also beginning her third year of Indigenous Studies and double major in French at York University as the campaign reaches its final week.

She wants to be an out-of-town elementary school teacher, but for now, she’s spreading her activism on campus to the national stage.

Love said that his focus is on labor rights and housing, as those are the areas in which he has the most experience, while environmentalism underpins everything, since “the biggest problem that any of us will face is the climate catastrophe. “.

Both Senneker and Love are concerned about housing affordability, and Senneker noted that their rent has doubled since 2014 despite going from living alone to sharing with their partner.

Love, who designed a series of fact sheets on housing and leasing while working a summer job with Social planning Toronto, said there should be renewed and stable federal and provincial funds to expand cooperative housing as a sustainable housing solution that can also create community building opportunities.

“It does not depend on a four-year government being reelected and reelected,” he said. “This is something that will strengthen our communities and stay built up.”

Love, a cashier and postal worker at a Shoppers Drug Mart who began organizing a union effort in late 2020, says she would also like to see a federal ban on back-to-work legislation and on the history and accomplishments of the labor movement. to receive wider publicity.

“The way the unions win is that they go on strike and their demands are met, it is not that they strike, nothing happens and then they are forced to go back to work,” he said. “It is very important that we have the right to vote and that we can promote change, and that we know how to do it.”

Morgan Sharp / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada National Observer

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