Engaging in federal politics is important more often than just once every four years

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This year’s federal election was unprecedented in terms of young voter turnout. Now that the election has passed, we have to keep that moment going, not check out of politics until the next time we have the opportunity to cast a ballot.

While total election voter turnout was lower than 2015, it was higher than any other election this millennium.

But political engagement has waned following the election. The month leading up to election day saw plenty of activism at Queen’s, from the climate march to the march against racism and homophobia in response to the Chown Hall note. Since the election, campus has become considerably quieter.

Elections are one of our main chances to directly influence what happens on Parliament Hill. It’s important that we commit to engaging in politics just before we cast our votes. But we can’t let post-election fatigue, or the sentiment that we’ve ‘done our part,’ quell the same action that characterized October. 

Politics are still important, even now that ballot boxes are closed and votes have been counted.

There is good reason to believe the more progressive views of young people may have been the reason the Liberals held onto government in a tight race this fall. For the first time in history, young people are the largest electoral block in the country. Our generation’s ability to influence the direction of our country is massive. 

We must take advantage of that beyond the scope of the election.

Climate change, the cost of living, health care, and social equality are all issues important to young people. These issues don’t run on an election cycle. If we don’t continue to push, march, post, and do everything we can to make sure we’re heard in the chambers where decisions are made, not only will decisions and policy be executed in the way we might not like, they simply might not be made at all.

Many Canadians, whether due to ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or a host of other factors, don’t have the ability to check out of politics once an election is over. Just because some of us have that privilege doesn’t mean we should take advantage of it. We’re lucky to live in a democracy, and it’s our job to keep that democracy lively and functioning.

The election may be over, but the coming months are paramount in determining what comes of those ballots we cast. We have the opportunity and the duty to be a part of that decision. 

While it might be easy to opt out, even for a short period of time, we cannot waste it.

Carolyn is one of The Journal’s Assistant News Editors. She’s a second-year Political Studies student. 

 

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