Young Toronto Voters on What Matters in This Election

Canadians went to the polls on Monday to decide whether to keep the Liberals in government or choose an alternative.

Here’s what a handful of young voters waiting outside two polling stations in downtown Toronto had to say about what drove them to vote.

Onaope, 23 years old

“Every election has different issues, obviously these are related to the times, the pandemic and immigration issues as well, and those are issues that are important to me, so I’m very excited to have a voice.”

More important problems?

“The way the pandemic has been handled, obviously, the best it could and compared to other countries. And there are certain platforms that are just promoting, I’m not going to name any names, but certain platforms that are preaching more hatred than acceptance, so I think it’s very important if you want to see a change or if you want to. see a continuation of what you’ve been seeing, so it’s important to be here voting right now. “

Edward, 23

“I am excited to have a voice, everyone deserves to be heard. It is the first time that I am going to vote and I felt that I had to do it because I have to defend what I believe, and I think they are putting pressure on us.

“All these politicians lie. Justin Trudeau, I’m going to have to drop that name bomb, but I’m not a fan of what he’s been doing to the country. Many of your beliefs are very strong I guess, and I just have a different opinion … “

The main issue motivating first-time voter Edward is his opposition to mandatory public health measures. Photo by Morgan Sharp

“Personally, for me, (the biggest problem) would probably be all of this requiring the vaccine and making it mandatory. My family members have been vaccinated and this and that, but the fact that my job may be threatened and my entertainment life, and all of the above, seems quite limited and cutting everything. You cannot travel, you cannot go to a restaurant, you cannot go to the movies unless you have been vaccinated, and it seems that then what can be done? You can go for a run, sure, but you can’t go to a gym without being vaccinated. How do you expect these other people who don’t want to get vaccinated to live like this? If he really believes in equality, why are these people treated so unequally?

Andy, 33

“I feel like the election caught most of the people by surprise, including me, so I wouldn’t say I’m excited to be here, but I feel like we should be here as Canadians to vote.”

More important problems?

“The recovery after the pandemic, well, we are still in the pandemic, but looking forward how they are going to support the families, all the people who lost their jobs, all the businesses that closed. It is a very different landscape now. And for me personally, climate change and how Canada will address that, I think it’s a high priority issue. “

Andy, a 33-year-old waiting to vote at a polling station near Church and Wellesley, believes that vaccine mandates should not have become an electoral issue. Photo by Morgan Sharp

That vaccine mandates become an electoral issue.

“I feel like people have taken those issues and expanded them to refer to human rights and freedoms, but I think that doesn’t get into the big picture, which protects the most vulnerable in our society. I don’t like how it’s been politicized, to be honest. It is a public health problem, not a political problem ”.

Quinlan, 23

“I think it was a bit rushed. I wasn’t exactly excited about it being called, but I’m excited about the traction … that the NDP is getting. They have had much more traction now than in the last election.

“I think they will make some good changes that are necessary to move forward as a country as a whole. For me, in particular, it’s the relationship with indigenous communities and how they seem to want to make a change in the future and seek truth and reconciliation instead of hiding things under the rug, which I feel has been going on for too long. weather.

“A big problem for me too is homelessness in Toronto, and they’ve talked a lot about getting more affordable housing in the city, affordable housing in general in Canada. It just turns out to be a big problem here. I think that’s something we need to focus on because it’s not always the fault of people who are homeless, it’s usually just the world they live in, the society we live in that made them go there.

“The climate crisis is so terrifying that I somehow end up forgetting it because it is constantly there. But I definitely think it’s a great talking point right now and something we need to focus on.

“If we don’t have a world to live in, what is the point of all the other problems? So I would say that is probably the most important thing we need to deal with. “

Shanay (left) and Quinlan came to vote together, and they both see climate change as an issue that needs more attention. Photo by Morgan Sharp

Shanay, 25

“I heard what some of the different parties, like the PPC … have said about immigrants, and as someone who comes from an immigrant family, I didn’t respect that at all. So I think it’s very important to vote, and not just vote because they said, ‘We don’t need a vaccine passport.’ Your vote affects a lot of other people, and I feel like some people forget about that, they say, ‘I’m not in that group of people, so I don’t care.’

“Some of us are in our 30s and still live without parents, and it’s hard to get a place right now. I am very lucky to have the apartment that I have, but now they are going to tear it down soon and we are going to have to pay a lot more, so I hope something has been done about that because it is really difficult now just to find a place to live. “

On climate change.

“People think, ‘Oh, we can worry about that later,’ but do you see what’s happening to the planet right now? We need to talk about it now. We have to stop ignoring it (aside) as if it were absolutely nothing because it is everything, not only for us but for our children, for the future, all of that. “

Morgan Sharp / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada National Observer

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