The power of Saskatchewan youth
On October 26, the people of Saskatchewan head to the polls and vote for who they want to be their representatives and leaders.
This election, people aged 18-38 are the largest number of voters – meaning that youth in the province hold a lot of power. Politicians have left young people out of the conversation for far too long and it is time for them to make our priorities their priorities.
University students across Saskatchewan pay some of the highest tuition prices in all of Canada, according to www.unican.ca.
There are so many students in Saskatchewan who are struggling financially now more than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic – what support has the government offered to students? It is important that students hold politicians accountable and ensure that they are working for us, as we are the future generation of working-class citizens, taxpayers, and continuing voters.
Young people in Saskatchewan make up over 35 per cent of voters across the province, meaning that youth have a huge say as to who governs and makes decisions for the province. During the 2019 federal election, some ridings in Saskatchewan were decided by fewer than 200 votes. Every single vote is important, especially in ridings that are that close.
Aina Ulain, a University of Regina student and Future Majority volunteer, spoke to her experience while connecting with Saskatchewan youth over the phone, “a lot of people I call, they don’t even know about the election that is coming up and I think that it’s not just because young people aren’t involved in politics, it’s because politicians aren’t doing enough to get the word out.”
Many young people express that they are unaware of how to vote, who to vote for, or that there is even an election. As young people, we are surrounded with media. So how is it possible to not see Facebook ads from each party or candidate? It is because politicians are barely advertising the priorities of youth, meaning that they are barely discussing the priorities and struggles young people are facing.
Politics, voting, and elections have been given the image of something “boring” or “something your parents care about.” But youth in Saskatchewan have a different idea this time around.
“Our generation is growing up in a world with less opportunities than our parents or our grandparents, and life is way more expensive. The fundamental things we need are out of reach,” Ulain said.
Future Majority, which is a non-profit, non-partisan organization, has had a large presence in Saskatchewan since the 2019 federal election campaign where they mobilized thousands of young people to get out and vote.
Throughout the month of October, Future Majority is hosting a number of campaigns and events to educate and engage young people all across the province about the importance of voting and being engaged in politics.
The events so far are as follows: Posters and Politics in the Park in Regina, March to the Mail-In, also in Regina, and Youth and Politics, an online event. These events are ways for anyone to get involved in the election and vocalize their experiences and priorities, as well as connect with like-minded people.
There are many politicians across Canada who have worked very hard to connect with young people through social media, events, and more – but in Saskatchewan there are not many politicians who are making the extra effort to engage young voters.
Ulain [and Future Majority] has spent a lot of time connecting with young people across Saskatchewan about what they need to see from their representatives. It has been repeated again and again that politicians are failing to serve youth.
“I think one of the most important things for politicians to note is that for the first time in our lifetime youth [age 18-38] make up the largest voting bloc in Saskatchewan. In order to get the young people’s votes you need to care about the issues that we care about,” Ulain said.
Some of the issues youth in Saskatchewan have identified are affordable mental health care, affordable education, and job security.
“We always talk about how ‘every vote matters,’ but this year, it really does,” Ulain said. “When our generation comes out to vote we’ll have the power to vote for a more secure and just future for the province.”
If you are a resident of Saskatchewan or a Canadian Citizen who studies at an institution in Saskatchewan and have not yet registered to vote, it is super easy to do online at https://www.elections.sk.ca/voters/registration/.
Many students who are residents of a different province or territory are often unaware that they, too, have the right to vote in the provincial election can vote but they can actually vote immediately as long as they’ve changed their address – this leads to many eligible voters not getting their ballot into the box.
If you are living in a different province or are unable to vote on the day of the election you are able to vote by mail. To register to vote by mail, go to https://www.elections.sk.ca/voters/voting-by-mail/.
The outcome of this election, and every election, affects each and every person within Saskatchewan, students living out of province, and international students.
There is a place for everyone to get involved, even if you are not eligible to vote. Advocate for the changes you want to see, encourage your friends to get out and vote, and hold politicians accountable for their actions.
If you are interested in volunteering with Future Majority and joining an amazing team of youth in Saskatchewan – head to https://futuremajority.majoritylabs.co/act/home#activist-recruitment-form.
The election is on October 26, and the last day to register to vote by mail is 15 October 2020.
See you at the polls.