Young people care about Ontario politics – that’s the message students from Liberal Arts and Professional Studies are sharing ahead of Thursday’s provincial election.
On May 7, 2018, four undergraduate research assistants from the Youth Research and Evaluation eXchange (YouthREX) housed in York University’s School of Social Work attended a youth-focused town hall hosted by Laidlaw Foundation, TVO, For Youth Initiative, and Twitter Canada. There, leaders from three of Ontario’s political parties described their platforms and answered tough questions from young people.
Helen Lam, a second-year Bachelor of Social Work student, critically assessed what the leaders had to say about Toronto’s housing crisis. She is concerned for the city’s homeless population, especially during the cold winter months, and her own ability to secure shelter, saying afterwards on her blog, “it is ridiculous that, today, finding a roof under which to rest is nearly mission impossible here in Toronto.”
First year student in Human Rights and Equity Studies, Jathusha Mahenthirarajan, was excited to see an event targeted at youth, but hopes the candidates will provide more than just lip service to her and her peers’ concerns. In fact, she believes their political futures depend on it: “Young people are a force to be reckoned with, especially when millennials will be the biggest cohort of voters in the 2019 federal election.”
Two additional students participated in the event: Jae Woong Han (1st year, Bachelor of Social Work) and Clementine Utchay (1st year, Bachelor of Health Studies).
“Young people have a lot to say about politics at all levels," said Dr. Uzo Anucha, Associate Professor of Social Work and Provincial Academic Director of YouthREX. "We’re pleased that Laidlaw Foundation and their partners decided to give youth voice a platform, and proud of our youth research assistants for sharing their thoughts on the issues that matter to them. ”
To read more about our student’s experiences and the project overall, visit the YouthREX blog.
You can also read the student's blogs directly:
- A Message to Ontario’s Politicians: We Are Not Your Photo-Op by Jathusha Mahenthirarajan
- Ontario’s Future Depends on Youth: The Perspective of a South Korean International Student New to Canadian Politics by Jae Woong Han
- Welcome to the Polls by Helen Lam
- Reflections from the Youth Town Hall: An Experience To Remember by Clementine Utchay