How to Engage Young Canadians

Blog Post

Leadership Thursday, June 16, 2016 View Count = 4150

How to Engage Young Canadians

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As our op-ed in yesterday's Ottawa Citizen reports, the official numbers are in from Elections Canada, and they deliver a significant blow to the myth of youth apathy. In the 2015 federal election, 57 percent of young Canadians voted, an incredible 18 percentage point jump from the previous election. With a new generation of young voters opting-in to politics, elected representatives have a growing opportunity to connect with young people in between elections.

To illuminate how political leaders can better engage youth, last winter, Samara brought together thirty emerging young leaders from across Canada and asked for their recommendations. The group emerged with four important messages for political leaders:

•  Recognize the diversity of youth. Young people are rich and poor, well-educated and less educated, urban and rural. A single young person cannot speak to the experiences of all youth.

•  Forget talking about “youth” issues. Young Canadians have the same hopes and fears of other generations and are interested in the same issues as they are.

•  Use social media for meaningful conversations. Allow for authentic and two-way dialogue to build relationships with young people.

•  Visit youth where they are. Remember to build relationships with young people via face-to-face contact, especially in spaces where they spend time. 

Samara and the young people involved hope these ideas, captured in a clear and colourful poster, will be displayed in constituency offices across the country, serving as a daily reminder to politicians and their staff of the value and importance of reaching out to youth.

The poster is the culmination of a year-long project led by Samara to reconnect young people to the political system. Last September, Samara released the report “Message Not Delivered” that found only 55 percent of Canadian youth were contacted by political candidates. Among all the age groups surveyed, people ages 18 to 29 reported the lowest amount of contact. Let’s encourage our political leaders to reach out more.

We’re calling on you to help get this poster to MPs, MPPs/MLAs, and municipal councillors throughout Canada!

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As we speak, young leaders are distributing these posters across the country. Alyssa in Newfoundland is delivering the poster to every MP on the island while Tom in Toronto is featuring the poster in the city’s Youth Cabinet toolbox to bring to city councillors. On a recent visit to Parliament, Vivian and Filmon handed a copy to MP Harjit Sajjan.

Will you bring a poster to your elected representative?

Follow this link to download or order your poster: www.samaracanada.com/poster-for-elected-representatives.


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