Young voters need to realize they’re important: Gord McNeilly

By Maggie Muttart

Sept. 25, 2015

Lindsay MacGregor had one word for attack ads: petty.

“They should be trying to sell themselves instead of attacking others,” said the UPEI student.

“I think attack ads are cheap.”

At a recent session of speaker series Politics on Tap, MacGregor said the ads dissuade her from voting for the party behind them.

“People only like Harper’s slogan because it’s catchy. And it’s kind of ridiculous to call Justin Trudeau just Justin in order to avoid association with his dad.”

The session was aimed at encouraging young people to vote in the Oct. 19 federal election. Gord McNeilly said it’s important to get young people excited.

“This whole thing, really, is about change, and it’s about changing how students look at things.”

He knows the importance of young voters, the NPD candidate in the last provincial election said.

“I only lost by 100 votes in District 14.”

The older vote was the reason because it countered the young people’s vote.

“I had a lot of young people’s support, but when it came down to it, more seniors came out and voted for the people that they knew.

“If you guys took this room and multiplied it with the number of people interested in voting, and multiplied that again, I’ll tell you what, you’ll get the things that you want.”

The former president of the UPEISU, Lucas MacArthur, said he hears a lot of people say there are certain issues only for youth.

“But I think we’re forgetting that all issues should be our issues,” he said.

“Just because I don’t have a pension right now doesn’t mean I’m not going to have to worry about it in a few years.”

Sixty per cent of young voters, ages 18 to 24, didn’t vote in the last federal election in Canada, MacArthur said.

“Now we don’t really know why these people aren’t voting, but we know that those ‘youth issues’ didn’t translate to them.”

Now is the time to change the statistic, he said.

“It’s not that we’re apathetic, but more so untapped potential.”