Where’s the youth vote in Kitchissippi?

The election campaign so far in Kitchissippi has been quite the race, with debates drawing standing room only crowds. But here’s the thing, those debates have almost exclusively attracted voters over the age of 30.

Young voters are out there, of course, although they may seem few and far between. Some choose to remain anonymous when approached, mostly for fear of seeming to be under informed. Overall, Kitchissippi residents in the 18-25 age group have expressed concerns that are very similar to those that played out in the debate venues.

Jeff Leiper and Katherine Hobbs are the two names that most young people recognized. Michelle Reimer’s name  never came up despite the fact that her sign campaign has been a strong one.

Development is a top issue for many youth voters, whether it involves condos in Westboro or the LRT. The environment is also a big issue, as is park maintenance and making the ward better for cycling. Perhaps surprisingly, younger voters do not want to see neighbourhood character lost to overdevelopment.

Leiper is popular for his friendly attitude and is remembered for coming to the door to talk, and his unique sign campaign. Hobbs is recognized for her presence at so many local events.

We asked young voters about their biggest issues, and here’s what they told us:

Bradey Helberg, 24: “It sucks that a lot of younger people don’t care about voting. I guess it seems in the grand scheme of things like it doesn’t matter or you can almost get too cynical to go out and be bothered. I’ve been concerned about how we are represented by the people in charge now. With LRT going in the way it is, it’s kind of a mess, they show a bunch of stats and numbers to us but it doesn’t really mean anything. I want to elect the right people, but who are they? It’s easy to have grand aspirations but once they get in and get that security, no one wants to be the one to stick their neck out.”  Photo by Ted Simpson.
Rachael Martin, 21: “I was reading Jeff Leiper’s flyer and I liked his stance on development. This area (Westboro) is kind of a mess right now, all this new stuff keeps coming in and it’s very mismatched. I’m worried that a bunch of rich people will keep coming in and pushing out the good things that are here now.” Photo by Ted Simpson.
Zarina Mail, 26: “I like Katherine Hobbs. She always shows up at events all around and that’s really important to me, that she is part of the community and involved.” Photo by Ted Simpson.
Ellen O’Connor, 23: “Jeff stood out to me most. His sign caught my attention and made me think about him more than others. I would be interested to know the councillor’s stance on the bike corral that was removed and if they would work with the BIA to bring the corral back, either along the main street or a side street.” Photo submitted.


Inform yourself! Other content in the 2014 election series includes:


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