I remember my first time like it was yesterday.

The empowering feeling of educating myself about my options. The anticipation as I waited for the special day. The excitement as I ticked the box next to the name of my chosen candidate.

For me, my first time voting was a memorable moment in my journey to adulthood. When I cast that first ballot became part of something bigger them myself – I was part of our democracy and I had a say.

Sadly, not everyone may find voting as exciting as I do. In fact many people in my generation don’t ever get out to the polls at all. Which is kind of understandable.

As a country we face immense challenges: rising tuition fees, increasing personal debt. Less well paying jobs, and the collapse of tradition staple industries in rural communities. Our planet is out of whack, and on track for run away climate change. Thousands of families are without doctors,  and medical prescriptions prices are skyrocketing. And affordable housing for young people like me is definitely out of the question.

In the face of these immense challenges, we haven’t seen much in the way of political solutions.  Our politics have become so toxic, divisive and uninspiring that people are tuning it out.

But the future will be decided by those who show up. And my generation needs to start showing up.

Rick Mercer may have said it best in a recent post . There are 3 millions young people in Canada. If we turned out to the polls, we would have a massive impact.

But we need to be voting for something, and right now the options on the table just aren’t cutting it for a lot of people.

Which is why I am working with Leadnow.ca to build a call for a new type of politics in Canada. One that is built on cooperation and addressing the key issues of our time: protecting the environment, strengthening social safety net, and renewing democracy.

People will act when they think it will make a difference. If people do not think that the election will matter, then they will not raise their voices for the issues they care about, and they wont vote. The consequences will be more of the same in Ottawa. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To change the status-quo we need to speak up with a call for a new kind of politics, and we need to show that there is a growing wave of voters who are going to get out to the polls to vote for the Canada we want.

And this election we will head to the polls in waves. Youth are waking up and getting involved, as evidenced by this awesome video students at the University of Guelph issued today.

They have challenged other students across Canada to film a video on thier campus to show that they care.

And students will pick up the challenge.

And we will head to the polls.

I just hope Ottawa is ready for us.


Tria Donaldson

Tria Donaldson

Tria Donaldson is a youth activist with roots in the environmental movement, the labour movement, and Indigenous rights. Tria is a senior Communications Officer at CUPE National, and on the Member’s...