We have 150 days to end 9 years of Conservative rule.
We've seen cuts to social services we value, meanwhile, corporate tax cuts for the richest while it gets harder for the rest of us. People from coast to coast feel it is time for a change. The next federal election is October 19, giving us 150 days to make that change happen.
In 2011, two-thirds of young people did not vote in the last election -- that is 1.8 million eligible youth -- and meanwhile, the Harper government got a majority with just over 6,000 votes in key ridings. Young people are more likely to vote progressively, and if more of us voted, we could be game-changers.
We are excited to be launching the Rock the Vote Summer Challenge. Over the course of the summer, youth will be collecting vote pledges at concerts, festivals, in parks and coffee shops, at university/college summer schools, BBQs, and just about anywhere that we hang out.
When I was at the University of Winnipeg last week, a young woman I spoke with said she didn't vote in the last election because she didn't feel informed enough to make a good choice. As part of our larger democracy campaign headed up by Dylan Penner, we are developing a voter's guide which we will share with people who sign the pledge which shows where the parties stand on key issues so that they can feel confident they are making an informed choice.
We've also taken part in canvasses happening as part of the 10-city democracy tour happening in Burnaby South and in Elmwood-Transcona. One of my favourite moments was at a recent Burnaby South canvass led by AJ Klein where our friends Ellie and Devin were canvassing who we met on the Game-Changers tour -- meeting a young man who said he would vote, and also get his eight room-mates to vote with him! Another favourite moment was at the Elmwood-Transcona canvass, which was in partnership with Indigenous Rock the Vote, when Jobb serenaded us with a song against the Harper government and Times They Are A-Changin' by Bob Dylan. The task of ending nine years of Conservative rule to see the change we want can feel huge, but when we come together with friends and family, it can be really fun!
- If we collect 3,000 youth vote pledges by August 19, we can garner support to change the outcome of a few ridings, taking the lead away from Conservatives to Progressive.
- If we collect 6,000 vote pledges during orientation week at universities and colleges by September 19, we can get closer to our goal.
- If we collect 10,000 vote pledges by October 19, we can be part of a wave of change and be a key force in turning things around.
We are on the heels of incredible social movements like Occupy, Idle No More, the Quebec student strike, to the recent victory in Alberta which ended 40 years of Conservative rule -- there is momentum building for change.
Between now and the end of August, over the next 3 months, I plan to go out to collect vote pledges every day from Monday to Friday.
Collecting vote pledges is easy, but it was pretty daunting at first. I found it really scary to go alone, and it can actually be really fun when you go with friends, especially on beautiful sunny days. We'll also be hosting a canvassing training webinar with some tips on how to canvass for all those who register to collect pledges.
We have until August 19 to collect 3,000 pledges. And it has already begun! To mark the 150-day countdown, myself, Atlantic Regional Organizer Tori, and a student named Kimberley collected 50 vote pledges while walking along the picturesque Main Street of Moncton, talking to people on patios, park benches, and cafes. So far we have collected a few hundred pledges, after our Game-Changer Tour with events at the University of Winnipeg, University of Regina, Ryerson, Nipissing, and Simon Fraser University, and in the South Shore in Nova Scotia, led by Tori Ball. We met some great young workers at the Youth Action Summit in Regina, many of whom are collecting pledges over the summer -- with some pledging to collect 50-250 pledges each over the summer.
Will you join us in taking action and collecting vote pledges this summer? Email me at bdepape[at]canadians.org to sign up! To register, simply email me with the following info:
1. Name, age, and contact information
2. Why you want to be a Summer Rock the Vote leader
3. Your riding and/or your postal code
4. How many pledges you can collect and when/where you will collect them
Alone we can do very little, but together, we can make a huge change.
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