Income is a key factor in determining whether people participate in elections. The unemployed, of which Peterborough has more than its fair share, are significantly less likely to vote according to Statistics Canada. Likewise, renters are less likely to vote than homeowners. This means that the folks who have the greatest interest in moving the needle on poverty and food insecurity are the least likely to exercise their influence.
Traditionally, youth are another major demographic that doesn’t make it out to the polls, but that has started to change. 65% of 18-34-year-olds voted in the 2015 federal election, up from 49% in 2011. Even more promising, 74% of newly eligible voters exercised their democratic power, up from 64%. This is a very good sign, and a trend we at Nourish would like to encourage.
Although better known for our food and garden programs, Nourish is invested in creating systemic change. My colleagues and I do our best to support community members in learning how to advocate for themselves and others. The political will of individuals is an essential ingredient in pressuring governments for new policy. And that pressure takes more than your vote.
In addition to discussions about the levels of government and the electoral system, our new Democracy Talks series will dig into how we disagree, and how we can change our own minds and the minds of others. By the end of the series, participants will pledge to vote, or to participate in some other civic engagement activity, like contacting an elected representative about an important issue, attending a City Council meeting, or writing a letter to the editor. We want to amplify your voice.
Do you want to ensure that everyone has enough healthy food on the table, or a roof over their head? Are you concerned about the wellbeing of your family, neighbours, or community? We believe you can make a difference.
If you are young, or feeling disconnected from the system, we want to invite you to Democracy Talks so we can help you be seen. Make your voice count: Wednesdays in May, 2:30 to 4:00pm at Emmanuel East United Church, 534 George Street North or Wednesdays in May, 6:30 to 8:00pm at Trinity United Church, 360 Reid Street.