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‘Climate change is a serious issue’: What young people are looking for in federal climate policies

Students representing the Liberal, Green and NDP parties sit down with Mercedes Stephenson to discuss the federal election campaign. (Note: Global News reached out to the UVic Conservatives to participate in the round table discussion and for a comment on this web story but they said no one was available to do so)

Weeks after thousands of young people took part in climate strikes across the globe, the impact of those protests has made its way to the heart of the 2019 federal election campaign.

A recent October poll from Ipsos on behalf of Global News suggests the strikes have helped climate change to “unseat” affordability and cost of living as the second most important voter issue behind health care.

READ MORE: Youth rally around the world in global climate strike

In a round table discussion with The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson, three politically active students from the University of Victoria (UVic) in British Columbia shared their thoughts on what young people are looking for from the federal parties on climate change.

“Climate change is a serious issue,” says Isabella Lee, a student who will be voting for the NDP.

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“Students are really looking for action and not just words.”

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An Ipsos report commissioned by Global News in September echoes that sentiment: when asked, 40 per cent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 believed that Canadians “need to do everything we can to fight climate change immediately,” even at the expense of jobs and a slowdown of the economy.

Students highlight huge day of protests during global climate strike
Students highlight huge day of protests during global climate strike

Green party member and UVic student Andrew Rose says that it’s important that the federal parties have a climate plan that looks to end carbon emissions.

“Until you have [a] plan to hit zero carbon [emissions], it’s very difficult to say that you have a plan that means anything,” Rose says.

However, according to the same September poll by Ipsos, there’s a generational divide in Canada when it comes to how to tackle climate change.

Sixty per cent of baby boomers believe that we need to move toward reducing climate change, but we must balance economic considerations’ with the environment.

READ MORE: For the 1st time, millennial voters will make up the biggest voting bloc in a federal election

Young Liberal and UVic student Karina Dhillon, meanwhile, says she understands the environmental concerns that are brought up because of the Trans Mountain pipeline that was bought by the Trudeau government.

“Do I personally agree with that? No,” Dhillon says.

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“But I can understand the logic where if all of the money that’s being generated from that is going towards investing in our transition into a green economy.”

Engaging the youth vote
Engaging the youth vote

With millennial voters set to become the largest voting block in this federal election, all eyes will be on whether any of the federal parties’ climate change policies will attract enough voters to help them form government.

Canada’s federal election will take place on Oct. 21.

Note: Global News reached out to the UVic Conservatives to participate in the round table discussion and for a comment on this web story but they said no one was available to do so.