"The more this election unfolds, the more I see the urgency of motivating young Canadians to get out and cast their votes." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (22 Sept. 2015) — As part of its campaign to encourage young Canadians to vote in the upcoming federal election, the Young Workers Committee of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union has released a provocative music video featuring its signature song, Don’t Vote. Performed by Ottawa-based band Arms of the Girl, the catchy, upbeat tune uses a strong dose of irony to hit home the need for youth to resist the temptation to apathy when it comes to exercising their democratic rights.
OPSEU's Young Workers Committee hopes video will spark interest in federal election
The video is a key element in the #Don't Vote (#dontvote) campaign that was launched on September 1 at OPSEU’s annual International Youth Day Conference.
Alarmed by the steep decline in the number of young voters, the Provincial Young Workers Committee members identified a need to create a multi‑platform, non‑partisan campaign that would engage youth in the political process. The campaign uses a mix of good‑natured sarcasm, edginess and fun designed to resonate with young Canadians who feel they have no political voice.
More attention to issues facing young people if more young Canadians voted
According to Elections Canada, 61 per cent of Canadians voted in the 2011 federal election. However, only 39 per cent of Canadians aged 25 and younger cast a ballot, leaving the choice of government largely in the hands of older Canadians. As a result, young people are increasingly ignored by those aspiring to political power, while issues of importance to youth — such as excellent public services, a clean environment and affordable tuition — barely register during election campaigns.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is convinced that a campaign targeting political apathy among youth is absolutely necessary.
Young Canadians can make a big difference in this federal election
“Younger Canadians support the things the labour movement has consistently fought for: excellent public services, good jobs, equality and justice. The more this election unfolds, the more I see the urgency of motivating young Canadians to get out and cast their votes," he said.
“I’ve said it before, and I will keep saying it until October 19: The most important thing that young people can put on their resume is that they voted in the 2015 federal election.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE