The upcoming federal election will be a watershed moment in Canadian history. In the months leading up to the election, Canadians have wrangled over such fundamental issues as reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians, the future of our resource-dependent economy and our responsibility to the world’s refugees ― issues that strike at the heart of this nation’s identity.
Yet young Canadians are, by and large, left out of these public debates. Politicians’ talking points and stump speeches are aimed at their base in the same way that newspaper coverage is aimed at its subscribers ― in other words, public dialogue revolves around the generation that buys newspapers and shows up to the polls. The result is that 70 per cent of Canadian Millennials believe that they are being ignored by politicians and 72 per cent do not believe that they can make their voices heard. Only 39 per cent of young Canadians turned out to vote in the 2011 election.
We think young Canadians have a lot to say about the future of this country. Can a collaboration with students journalists from across western Canada spark a conversation that puts young people’s perspectives on the agenda? Possible Canadas: A solutions journalism project, created by Discourse Media with financial support from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and in partnership with Canadian University Press, is our attempt to do just that.