Measuring the generation factor.

Pollsters must pull their hair about it. They cannot get reliable readings on the under 30s. They are not sure they understand the mindset. These young people are not easy to survey. The pollsters know that this age group will be a major factor in the next federal election but they remain amorphous.

Politicos agree that this will be the generation that can seal the win for Justin Trudeau and the Liberals in the coming federal election but much can happen over the next 20 months. Nothing is static in politics. And we are talking about a large group of Canadians who have no reason to trust any of the current crop of politicians.

We should not forget that these Canadians were among the hardest hit by the economic problems of the past five years. For many of them, the information was strained through their parent’s understanding of the why but they also saw the problems from the vantage point of young people trying to find meaningful work even with the supposedly right education and degrees.

And we should bear in mind this was the generational group that brought down Jean Charest’s provincial government in Quebec when he tried to curtail what they saw as their entitlement in education. They did not directly support Pauline Marois’ péquistes even if she did beat pots for them when marching against the increased tuitions. The advice from Quebec is that the young people are more concerned about their economic future than with separatism for Quebec. They see separatism as something that old people argue about.

The good news for the federal Liberal Party is that Justin Trudeau connects well with this generation. The Liberal Party better be very careful not to turn off this support with the policies they propose at their upcoming Montreal policy conference. These young people care about the environment and they are not going to support any tar sands exploitation in Alberta if there is no environmental protection. They want more federal support for the sciences and education in general.

The really good news is that this is a remarkably interesting generation. When you get them to put down their communications devices for a few minutes you find they are able to carry on quite intelligent conversations. They have inquisitive minds and they are knowledgeable. Do not sell them short.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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