Advertisement

Liberals target young voters, who helped them win 2015 election

WATCH ABOVE: Trudeau discusses platform promises for young voters

OTTAWA — The Liberals ramped up their get-out-the-vote push Saturday with a message targeting younger Canadians, a sign the federal election campaign may soon turn away from policy messaging and toward mobilization.

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

With just over two weeks to go until election day Oct. 21, the party is once more appealing to a demographic that was crucial in securing its majority victory in 2015.

Young voter participation jumped by over 18 per cent in the last election, with around 57 per cent of eligible voters aged 18 to 24 casting a ballot, as well as a similar proportion of Canadians aged 24 to 34.

Federal Election 2019: Scheer says housing strategy focused on young Canadians
Federal Election 2019: Scheer says housing strategy focused on young Canadians

Yet young Canadians traditionally vote at far lower rates than other age groups, and youth turnout will be a key question in the upcoming election.

Story continues below advertisement

Recent polling from Ipsos found that 43 per cent of men aged 34 and under, and 48 per cent of women in the same age group, said they would for certain vote in the upcoming election.

Research from Abacus Data suggests Canadians between the ages of 18 and 38 are the largest voting bloc in this election at around 37 per cent of the total electorate.

Federal Election 2019: Political divide exists between men, women of different ages: Ipsos
Federal Election 2019: Political divide exists between men, women of different ages: Ipsos

The Liberals made the case to young voters Saturday they should stay involved in the process — and park their vote with the party.

The statement released by the Liberals specifically cited a promise to increase Canada Student Grants by 40 per cent, as well as pledges to implement a two-year grace period on student loan repayment.

READ MORE: Youth voter turnout grew in 2015. Advocates want the trend to continue in 2019

They also listed promises in key areas thought to be of importance to younger voters: climate, health services, and economic inequality.

Other parties have also made pledges designed to appeal to younger Canadians.

Federal Election 2019: May talks pharmacare, housing, post-secondary education
Federal Election 2019: May talks pharmacare, housing, post-secondary education

The NDP have promised to eliminate interest on student loans, while the Greens committed to abolish tuition altogether.

Story continues below advertisement

The Conservatives announced plans to boost federal contributions to Registered Education Savings Plans.

Federal Election 2019: Singh says he’ll ‘waive all interest’ on student debt on first day as prime minister
Federal Election 2019: Singh says he’ll ‘waive all interest’ on student debt on first day as prime minister

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau didn’t make any public appearances today, but the party noted that early voting is available on some university campuses from today until Wednesday — part of an expanded program from Elections Canada.

READ MORE: The ‘genderation’ gap: political divisions exist between men, women, different age groups, polls show

In 2015, the country’s electoral agency tested a pilot project on 39 post-secondary campuses, in which Canadians could vote by special ballot regardless of whether they were a student.

Elections Canada has boosted the number of sites this year to 109 campuses.

Engaging the youth vote
Engaging the youth vote

The campus polling locations are open ahead of the traditional advance polls, which will open across the country Oct. 11. As part of the agency’s participation push, those advanced polls will be open all day from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. through Oct. 14.

With files from Global News