We student voters are the future
I was born and raised in Toronto, so this city holds a very special place in my heart. A North York native, over the years I’ve moved from place to place, making my way closer to the water. Every neighborhood, every community is unique and makes this city what it is. That’s exactly what I love about Toronto, turning a corner and finding yourself immersed in something fresh and new.
Whether it’s the feel of the people in the streets or the cultures that adorn the restaurants and local shops, Toronto is truly multi-cultural. No matter your age, background, race, religion, there is a place for you here. Toronto is my home, where I grew up and where I became the person I am today. This is my city, your city.
Don’t worry I’m not that naive: Toronto is far from perfect. However, I’m a firm believer that before any constructive criticism, you should always start with some positives (insert innocent grin). Toronto, I do love you, but we’re crying out for a change.
With the upcoming elections keeping anxious Torontonians on the edge of their seats, this is not the time to sit back and relax. President Barack Obama made the Americans believe in the power of change, inspired millions to take a chance, and grin and bear the consequences. No one said change was ever easy, but we know we want it and we’re ready for it.
We can change this city, it starts with City Hall, but it’s up to every single one of us to be a more engaged, empowered, active citizen. In the 2006 Toronto elections, it was disturbing to hear that voter turnout was only 41%. The Federal Election in 2008 was no better, as Toronto Center had one of the sharpest declines, with 8,000 fewer votes.
Do we just not care? Clearly that’s not the case, as we are a very vocal people about what we don’t like to see here in our neighborhoods. I don’t think Mayor David Miller would disagree with me there. So we complain and criticize, but then we don’t vote -- and students have the worst reputation of us all.
To my great disdain, I am placed into that lovely “student voter” category. I feel like I’m stereotyped as an ignorant young person, who doesn’t actually care or believe in the real issues at hand. Apparently we only vote for the NDP, if we even vote at all, because they promise lower tuition fees. Duh.
What bothers me most is that as I sit here and read these incredible, innovative and intriguing opinions and ideas from some of the most diverse people our city has to offer, nothing will change if we don’t all change.
For my first blog I wanted to call out to every Torontonian, for every person that has been affected by budget shortfalls, lack of affordable housing, public transportation glitches and the closing down of community centres and much-needed pools. For every person that can see the potential in this city, let your voice be heard, get into your community and VOTE.
To all my fellow student voters, this is our time to prove everyone wrong. Think of the future of this city. We are the future. Let’s take that responsibility and shape what’s to come.