William Hanna –
Dear Mr. Trudeau,
As a 17-year-old Canadian citizen, under constitutional law, I was unable to vote in the most recent general election. Though the outcome of this election was in line with what I would have hoped for, you hold a responsibility for myself and all the other youths who were unable to cast a ballot. Over the next four years of your time in office, you hold the responsibility of representing the youth of this nation. Although citizens like myself may not have taken part in the process of electing you as our next Prime Minister, every decision and policy put in place over the next four years will still have a direct effect on our futures as a Canadians.
Given this, Mr. Trudeau, I humbly request of you to engage, to serve, and to advocate for the youth of this country. For too long have our political parties relied on the vote of the eldest 25% to gain power. In 2011 just 38% of Canadian citizens between the ages of 18-24 voted, contrasted with 75% of citizens aged 65-74. Although Canadians came out in record numbers on October 19th, and although preliminary figures point towards an increase in the youth vote, this gap remains too large. The fact of the matter is that young people do not feel as though they have power over their future.
For the past nine and a half years, Mr. Harper has only made it harder for Canadians to exercise their democratic rights. Furthermore, he has made it clear that his policies are designed to serve the interests of his voter base rather than that of Canada as a whole. I am writing to you, Mr. Trudeau, because I believe you are different. I believe you have the power to turn the tables on how the hierarchy of influence is constructed in this country. The young people of this country are the next middle class, we are the next small business owners, we are the next CEOs, we are the next civil-rights leaders, and we are the ones that will be burdened with the shortsighted decisions of today. Therefore I ask you, Mr. Trudeau, to empower the young people of our nation. This generation can access information more easily then any generation preceding it. Technology will only continue to progress, and many of the jobs that my generation will hold may not even exist now. For this reason Canada must invest in the education of our youth, not for the purpose of a future means for production, but rather for the purpose of creating a population of inquisitive, critical thinkers, that will be able lead our country into a sustainable and progressive future.
I recognize that Canada is faced with a plethora of immediate challenges, and that your job as Prime Minister will be no easy task. At the same time it is now your inherited duty to ensure that your children and grandchildren are left with a world that is better than today’s. Canada has shown that they trust you with this task. I also trust you with this task, but I implore you to prove to me, to my fellow youth, and to this country that you will follow through on this trust. Our country has the potential to be great, and it is not the ‘Old-Stock Canadians’ who are going to make it so. Four years from now I will have the right to vote in my first federal election. Prove to me that in 2019 I should be voting for your re-election.