Belittled, disrespected, unheard, and unseen. “Because I’m not 20.”
To those who attended the Mayors Debate in Picton tonight (October 5th/22) most likely have a good guess as to what I am referring to. As individuals who were born and raised in Prince Edward County, we are deeply saddened and disappointed for this year’s Municipal election, an event we were once excited and hopeful for.
As always, the youth that filled the room tonight were few and far between.
We wonder why?
Possibly due to disconnect from our fellow citizens of the County or perhaps lack of respect and understanding from those in politics or maybe the simple fact, for some of us is that we aren’t taken as seriously as we’d like to be.
My partner Nolan Steen built up the courage to ask a very real and concerning question on behalf of the youth of this County, as we were among the very few that attended.
The question was this: “As a 20 year old, why should I vote for you?” To say that our hearts sank to our stomach with the lack of substance to the responses is an understatement.
Not one candidate was able to formulate and explain a logical and concrete policy geared to the many issues that affect us as youth living in this expensive and ever-growing community. Every issue that was discussed tonight affects youth in one way or another, yet our simple question was taken lightheartedly and like a joke.
Just so readers understand where our frustration is coming here, here was some of the answers to our questions: “Because I’m not old” “Because theres no one your age up here” “I have experience” “Base 31 is working with Loyalist College.”
Absolutely none of this has to do with municipal policies and is very revealing of the priorities of those in charge when it comes to youth issues in this community. Though these responses may have invoked some laughter amongst the audience, this apparent lack of knowledge on the issues that young people face in Prince Edward County is nothing short of an absolute travesty.
Consider this: the 20 year olds of today will be the taxpayers of tomorrow. Our issues ought to be understood on a much higher level than what was seen tonight. To give you a little bit of background as to who you were truly responding to: Two 20 year olds who live on our own, are full time students, who are financially independent, are extremely hardworking and who have made tremendous sacrifices to live in this community. We also happen to be working in this year’s municipal election.
Fun fact: we moved FOUR times last year just to continue to fight to live in this municipality. Prince Edward County, we love you but when are you going to start showing your love back to young people in this community?
Marley McFaul & Nolan Steen