Online Exclusive: Go Green or Go Home

Political parties and youth leaders alike have been long striving to fight youth voter apathy. The Green Party’s latest initiative, to do just this was the announcement of a Youth Caucus Development Committee at the party’s 2006 convention in Ottawa.

The mandate of the YCDC is to examine the logistics of creating, electing and maintaining a sustainable youth caucus for the Green Party, and to give youth an appealing opportunity to get involved in politics. Ultimately, the Greens hope the project will change the political forum from something considered the stodgy domain of the older demographic, to an interesting and effective to way to influence change.

“It’s a tremendous push forward,” said provincial Green Party leader George Read, noting youth representation is very important to plan the Green Party’s next campaign. “Youth chapters are an influential part of our organization.”

Campus Green clubs are on the frontlines of the youth demographic. While striving to communicate their views to the general population, another goal of these groups is to create a sustainable outlet for politically-inclined students.

“We want to lead the way for other campus groups,” explained University of Calgary Campus Greens founder Cody Torgerson. “Whatever we build needs to be easily replicated. Politics, at this point, are incredibly boring. We need to get the message to people about what we’re about.”

Torgerson also mentioned political parties have taken a collective front to get youth interested in voting, noting this is one of the few initiatives parties are unified in supporting.

Along with the YCDC, the Green Party is taking further steps to foster youth involvement in their party and politics in general. Modern forms of communication like user-friendly websites and blogs are used as an easily accessible way to inform many of their platform and ideals.

Student’s Union vice-president external Julie Labonte stressed it is importand to provide youth with resources to make educated decisions about voting, and that parties also need to convey a platform appealing to youth.

“Parties need to reconsider their format,”said Labonte . “They need to put out their platform in a way that isn’t long-winded.”

Traditionally, the Green Party has received a large amount of so-called protest votes from people who choose the Green Party to object to the views of some of the more conventional parties. The party wants to take those votes and keep them from election to election by promoting the pros of their platform to this demographic, said Torgerson.

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