Nova Scotia

Cape Breton millennials question sudden interest from federal candidates

Some millennials in Cape Breton say federal election candidates are paying more attention to them this year, but they question whether that interest will last beyond the Oct. 21 election.

'I feel like a lot of the candidates are using the environment as a bargaining chip,' says millennial voter

Millennial voters between the ages of 18 and 38 make up as much as 37 per cent of the electorate in the October federal election. (Peter Power/Canadian Press)

Some millennials in Cape Breton say federal election candidates are paying more attention to them this year, but they question whether that interest will last beyond the Oct. 21 election.

Leigh Potvin, a 38-year-old Cape Breton University professor, said people in her age group are media savvy and know they're being targeted by politicians.

"It doesn't take very much thought to consider the fact that like none of these issues are talked about in the day-to-day governance of our country, and now that there's a campaign, they care about student debt and they care about affordable housing," Potvin told CBC's Information Morning Cape Breton.

Canadians between the ages of 18 and 38 make up as much as 37 per cent of the electorate in this federal election, according to Abacus Data, which means how millennials vote could have a big impact on the outcome.

Changing priorities, says political science professor

Jonathan Malloy, a political science professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, said millennials who are now in their 20s and 30s have different priorities this election.

"Go back a number of years and the millennial generation was very interested in what I'll call their high-minded ideals, issues of diversity and inclusion," he told Information Morning Cape Breton.

Malloy said the environment is still an issue for millennials, but other things are growing in importance.

"They're raising families. They're interested in home affordability, stuff like that, so the millennial generation is getting increasingly what we call practical in their concerns," he said.

This is the second federal election for Allie MacDonald-Campbell, 23.

Leigh Potvin teaches at Cape Breton University and is among millennial voters being targeted by federal parties in this campaign. (Corey Katz)

"I feel like a lot of the candidates are using the environment as a bargaining chip," she told Information Morning Cape Breton. "I think they see that that's an issue that millennials are really focusing on and I think they are using that to kind of get our vote."

MacDonald-Campbell said she's learning more about the issues this time around.

"Just growing up and being more of an active member in my community has really played a role in thinking about the upcoming election," she said. "Being around people who are educated, and around people who have big ideas, and sitting at the adult table at supper now."

About the Author

Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith has been reporting news in Cape Breton since 1981. You can follow her on Twitter @leblancsmith and reach her at yvonne.leblanc-smith@cbc.ca

With files from CBC's Information Morning Cape Breton and Alvin Yu

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