Wednesday forum at Hume Hotel hopefully a start to get younger generation talking about upcoming Federal Election
Liberal candidate for the Kootenay/Columbia riding, Don Johnston, is hosting a free event Wednesday with the hopes of encouraging younger voters to cast a ballot in the upcoming Federal Election in October.
Johnston, who was CEO of the Columbia Basin Trust for six years and is running in the newly created Kootenay/Columbia riding, said in a media release that past voting trends suggest that a higher turnout in the last election would have changed the result.
The lower turnout is due to the younger generation not exercising their democratic right.
“(Younger voters) haven’t realized the full power of (their) generation just yet and this would be a good election to flex some muscle,” said Johnston, hoping voters step forward to change that trend.
The Liberal staged event is being held at the Hume Hotel, beginning at 7 p.m.
Organizers say the event is open to voters of all age groups and suggest people bring a friend or two, drop in for a while, or stay until the last person leaves.
“There are a lot of young people who did not feel their vote mattered in our last federal election,” explains Cheryl Elliott of the Kootenay/Columbia Liberal Party.
“We are inviting them, their parents and grandparents to come out and hear Don share his thoughts and answer questions about why their votes matter.”
Johnston said if younger voters tend to favour ‘progressive’ parties like Liberal, NDP and Green then in 2006 and 2008 their vote may have limited Harper to a minority government since voters below the age of 35 years actually increased a bit in those elections.
Johnston added that in the next election the trend reversed.
In 2011 only 38% of the 18-24 year old group and 45% of the group up to age 35 voted while voters above the age of 44 increased.
In that last election the Conservative Party, with Stephen Harper as leader, won a majority with only 38% of the actual vote.
Johnston is playing host to Wednesday event, but said he would allow for dialogue to discuss issues of concern — like talk on setting the record straight on the economy, family tax credits or restrictions on maternity benefits, education, environment or security policy.
Johnston, former CEO of Canada World Youth said Liberal leader Justin Trudeau chaired similar youth organizations and acted as the Liberal critic for Youth programs and Post – Secondary education so the party platform reflects a renewed focus on the next generation of voters.
Johnston said this election is the first run under the Conservatives new Fair Election Act, which requires voters to produce two pieces of ID including one with an address and forbids Election Canada from advertising.
As Liberal candidate, Johnston is running for the Kootenay/Columbia seat against Bill Green, of the Green Party, Wayne Stetski of the NDP, incumbent Conservative MP, David Wilks and Christina Yahn of the Libertarian Party.
The Federal Election is set for October 19, 2015.