Windsor

'My voice can be heard for once': Youth roundtable lets young people connect with candidates

Calum Laing is making sure his vote is educated — and counts.

'We're the future' says one 19-year-old voter

Candidates from four parties were invited to the roundtable, including the Liberal Party, NDP, Conservative Party and Green Party. (Simon Rice/CBC)

Calum Laing is making sure his vote is educated — and counts.

He's 19 and it's the first time he can vote in a federal election.

"My voice can be heard for once," said Laing at a youth panel on the election Wednesday, where young people could chat with local candidates from all parties. Laing helped organize the event and found it easy to get young people to attend the conference.

"Conferences like this really help, because it lets the candidates hear from youth one-on-one," said Laing. "We're the future."

Noah Gascon is a high school student who attended the conference to find out how candidates would deal with issues that affect young people — and he can't even vote in the upcoming election.

"Affordable housing, mental health ... some politicians are listening to youth — and it's important that they do," said Gascon. 

Gascon said people his age want to vote, calling them "energized" for the election. 

"This generation is ready to get out and vote," said Gascon, adding that he thinks some federal policies should dictate provincial issues, like healthcare. 

Laing has heard that most voters his age are "on the left" but that the Liberals are missing targeting "Gen Zs" — people born in the late 1990s and early 2000s. 

"Your vote might not go toward the main outcome, but your voice really matters," said Laing, encouraging other people his age to vote on Oct. 21. 

Gascon said when he makes his decision, he's looking at both the character of the local candidate and the party platform — and he wanted to make sure candidates heard his voice at the conference, since he can't be heard with a ballot this election. 

Candidates from four parties were invited to the roundtable, including the Liberal Party, NDP, Conservative Party and Green Party.

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