Editorial: Youth apathy and political absence

The youth seem to have little interest in politics; why are some candidates out of sight, out of mind?

Every time an election is called, the issue is raised about apathy among the youth.

Pundits, politicians and the political elite strategize and hypothesize about what can be done to engage the younger voters.

During the last federal election, only 35 per cent of voters under the age of 30 casted ballots in Fernie – roughly half of the national average for that demographic.

We are now four weeks into the election campaign and judging by the political signage around town, it seems there are only three candidates running for their respective political parties – the Conservatives, the NDP and the Green Party.

As of press time, there’s not a single Liberal sign to be found. The party’s candidate, Don Johnston, said in an email to The Free Press on Aug. 27 the “ridiculously early election call” caused the signs the party ordered to be delayed and said they just received them and that we’d be seeing them up around town “in the very near future”.

I guess we have a different understanding of what the “near future” means.

Nevertheless, the lack of visibility of the Liberal Party pales in comparison to the total absence of the fifth candidate running in the Kootenay-Columbia riding. Yes, there is a fifth candidate.

Christina Yahn of Nelson is the candidate for the Libertarian Party.

If you don’t know anything about this party, here are a few points from their platform: the Libertarian Party wants to legalize sex work and marijuana, eliminate all forms of government foreign aid and repeal sections 91 and 92 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which is to say “make responsible gun possession legal”.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but is this not the policy south of the border? And with the amount of shootings in the U.S., I’m thinking more guns in the hands of citizens might not be a wise decision.

After trying to reach the Libertarian candidate a handful of times, I am still waiting for a response.

With a lack of visible campaigning, it almost seems like some of the candidates themselves aren’t into the election.

Perhaps it’s because it’s the longest campaign in recent Canadian history; or perhaps it has something to do with how far campaign dollars will stretch.

Whatever the case, if politicians appear to not care about getting out there and being seen, is it much wonder the youth have all but checked out?