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Politicians need to care about the youth’s priorities, and the youth need to care about politics.

Unfortunately, Generation Z is less interested in politics than any other generation. Whether this lack of interest is born out of political cynicism or a general lapse in political knowledge, it’s important to be proactive about getting young people out to the polls.  

In Canada, people between the ages of 18 and 34 have the smallest voter turnout. And many of these young voters feel as though politics are too complicated, making them less likely to interact with political parties than any other age. There are real consequences to this lack of political engagement among Generation Z. Most notably, politics are at risk of falling out of touch with youth priorities. 

Despite this lack of engagement from Canada’s youth, young people aren’t necessarily politically apathetic; in fact, they’re highly future-oriented. In a youth report published by the Government of Canada, young people placed significant importance on political issues surrounding climate action, employment, healthcare, and truth and reconciliation. Young people clearly have valuable insight into political issues, yet their voices fail to be heard at the polls and in their communities.

The effort to increase youth voting doesn’t fall solely on the shoulders of young people, though. Responsibility must also be placed on politicians, teachers, and parents as well. Everyone has a responsibility to educate young people about the political process and to empower them to make decisions come election time. 

Young Canadians tend to be exposed to politics first in their high school Civics and Careers classes. However, the courses’ content and delivery are simply not enough. Political activity is not taught through reading dense articles about Canada’s political process. Rather, young people must be experientially engaged so they can understand the impact of their actions and have experience in common political activity. 

For instance, people are more likely to continue voting throughout their lives if they vote once they are legally eligible, since voting is largely based on habit. Many youths are still in high school when they turn 18, so why not take students to the polls so they can build voting habits? Similarly, students would benefit from experiential learning opportunities about advocacy work. This is because if students are aware of how they can enact change, they’ll be better informed when making their vote.  

Many grassroots organizations have already identified the demand for youth guidance in political engagement. And some non-profits like Apathy is Boring have established programs that teach young people how to get involved in local political projects. These programs which offer real-world experience should be accessible in schools. Experiential learning gives students a better idea of how they can engage politically in their communities. This is essential because if we expect the youth to be politically active, we must first show them how. 

However, it’s not only the education system that is responsible for teaching youth to be politically active. Political parties must show that they care about the youth by addressing issues that young people are interested in. Young people often feel intimidated by the complexity of politics, and politicians need to show young people their value by actively seeking their engagement in political discussions. 

Why is this important? Well, without young people, the world quite literally cannot advance. The world needs young people and young people need leaders. As the Baby Boomers move toward retirement, Millennials and Generation Z will determine the fate of this country. If we want to foster a government that is future-oriented, we need to represent what young people care about — and it’s up to everyone to make that happen. 


  • Grace is a second-year political science student joining the Fulcrum for the 2022-23 publishing year. She has experience in public service, and has volunteered in advocacy campaigns and grassroots initiatives uplifting youth and women. She is passionate about the arts, community organizing, and politics. When she’s not studying or working, you can find her reading or rewatching Seinfeld episodes.