It seems that it will always be popular to label younger generations as “hopeless” and “lazy” members of society. The justifications for these claims are most often backhanded jabs in the form of back-in-my-days and when-I-was-a-kids. While there is a lot to be learned from our elders, references to old times in the form of accusations always prove reactionary. In other words, people who perpetuate these messages are well aware of their divisive nature.
Despite disengagement at the polls, our youth are civically engaged, and participating members of the political process. From online petitions and boycotts to protests, we are voicing our concerns and thoughts on Canadian politics at the Federal level very loudly. A new culture of political engagement is being nurtured through these actions. Additionally, the demand for an accountable government reflects a larger, more intimate desire: Canadians are seeking a culture of accountability, in which the sum total of our actions as citizens is understood to be the foundation of the country we call home. With that vision in mind, we have already begun to create the Canada we want for ourselves and for generations to come.
Fuelled by resentment of injustice, our young people rallied together this past electoral season and demanded that the next government be founded on transparency and honest work, with priorities that align with our own. These efforts are commendable in their own right, but civic engagement of this kind is the responsibility of all citizens of a democratic nation. From the creation of Bill-C51 to muzzling our scientists, the previous government was deliberately silencing many voices, especially those of young people. This lack of meaningful commitment from the government led to many of us tuning out. Samara Canada’s Democracy 360 Report Card touches on this, recommending that MPs act as “reliable two-way links between the government and citizens”.
Young people fill me with hope for Canada’s future. We are willing to dream and maintain that our country is not perfect, but that it does hold tremendous potential. Our country is also a living, breathing thing: it has a past that we are responsible for recognizing and keeping alive, a present that we must acknowledge and innovate within, and a future that today’s actions will shape and that our past will inform.