In the last municipal election, a meagre 25 per cent of Lake Country voters dropped their ballots into a white box.
B.C.’s average voter turnout for municipal elections is 33 per cent and you can’t argue that it’s Lake Country’s population size that makes its voters so uninterested in local politics as Peachland, with a population of 5,000, has had the highest voter turnout in the Central for the past decade.
Don Wilson, with the Peachland Museum, says its because of Peachland’s retired population, as about half of the municipality is over the age of 55.
While this theory may be true, we then turn at the age-old argument of why young people don’t vote. Lake Country has a growing population of young families, who will be affected by rising housing costs, public beach accessibility, water quality, taxes, ect. for years to come.
It’s not a problem that only Lake Country deals with, young Canadians under 35 don’t often show up to the polls on both provincial and national levels (however, there was a spike of interest for the federal election in 2017).
The decisions your council makes has a direct impact on your city. Politicians will naturally gravitate to policies and messages that affect baby boomers, as they are Canada’s largest demographic, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent for millennials. If we voted more, maybe we’d see politicians start to address issues that have more of an effect on our age group.
It’s baffling how many young people complained about the smoke this past summer, yet took no time to research what politicians are doing to mitigate forest fuels and more importantly, what politicians are doing to combat climate change, which is directly linked to the increase in wildfires. It’s also costing $1 billion annually for B.C. property damage losses.
You will be directly impacted by this, either for smoke, fires, floods or landslides, increasing taxes ect. and you also have the ability to go to your local politicians and talk to them.
Millennials will also be on the earth longer than the baby boomers, maybe it’s time we started thinking about how we want to leave our mark.