Snap out of it, Canada

Canada is in a strange position right now. The world sees it as bland, boring and predictable. In a lot of ways, we are all of those things, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Stability never hurt anybody, right?

Wrong. Young Canadians have become used to living in relatively the same world regardless of whether Conservatives or Liberals are in power. There’s still universal healthcare, the buses still run and Tim Hortons continues to serve mediocre coffee. No one touches issues young people talk about, simply because the youth are split. One side is complacent in the world they live in. The other side consists of radicals with no chance of pushing their agenda.

University students come out every year on Nov. 5 to protest against rising tuition fees but in reality, the Drop Fees rally is just an excuse for a large number of people to get high together downtown.

Similarly, student union representatives meet with politicians and allow themselves to be wooed but only around election time. That is what’s going on today on our campuses. Candidates schmooze students, who are then so starstruck over a famous politician visiting their campus that all they get out of the event is a blurry cellphone picture and an unnecessarily excited Facebook update.

These same students then proclaim their die-hard support for the Liberals or the Tories. In reality, when they go to conferences for politically engaged youth, they all come back with the same stories of finding “exciting networking opportunities” — that is, make out with other students.

Do these students regularly visit the websites of the political parties they claim to support? No. Political engagement is simply a fad that engulfs them every four years or so.

Canadian youth need to realize their country is not in a state of turmoil like Egypt. They can ask and get whatever they want from their government, as long as they don’t do it G20-style.

A university student recently told me he refuses to vote because he thinks four years is not a long time for one government to make any significant change, so “Why bother?”

He is just one example. Apathy, not obesity, is the epidemic taking over North America, at least on this side of the border.

A solution some student unions have come up with is a vote mob. Large groups of students get together and literally mob their local election offices to be heard by candidates who rarely target them.

On the other hand, these mobs are meeting up on days leading up to May 2. But, there’s no guarantee students who come out with their friends to cheer for extremely vague causes will also vote.

About this article

By: Maryam Shah
Posted: Apr 21 2011 10:02 am
Filed under: Canada Votes 2011 Opinion

1 Comment on "Snap out of it, Canada"

  1. the claim that nobody who supports a political party on campus cares or follows that party regularly, is entirely false. On the contrary, it is because these students regularly follow politics that they are able to engage others when it comes to election time. It would be ludicrous to suggest that politics be everyone’s passion, but the few that it is need to share it, and election time is the best time to do so.

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