Governments at all level are currently under the erroneous impression that young Canadians want more government in their lives and don’t really care that much about deficits. Not only is that incorrect, but we at Generation Screwed are proving them wrong every day. This September, we started our activities on 29 different campuses all across the country. From St. John’s, Newfoundland, all the way to Victoria, BC, Generation Screwed coordinators have been hard at work getting their clubs accredited with their university, putting up kiosks so our message can reach students in all parts of campus, or organizing various events to educate the student population as to how bleak their financial future is likely to be if we don’t stop the tax & spend ideology today. The on-campus reaction could not have been better. We’ve been able to grow our support by over 500 new supporters last September alone, and as of this month’s it’s still growing.
The truth is, young Canadians care greatly about their financial future and understand the perils that come with debt: they are already experiencing them on a more personal level with student loans. They already owe, in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars for the diplomas they are working hard to get, and they know how precarious that makes their finances. When they see thousands of dollars per person in government debt, they know just how crippling interest payments are to current governments. When they’ve heard for years about Canada’s aging population, they know it means fewer and fewer workers to pay for retirees. They know they’ll have to shoulder a significant fiscal burden during their work-years, and it scares them. That is the very reason why Generation Screwed has caught on so fast in Canadian campuses: it accurately describes how young Canadians feel about their generation. They feel like they’ve been screwed by a job market where they have less opportunity than their parents. They feel like they’ve been screwed by a housing market where they can’t afford to own. They feel like they’ve been screwed by decades of short-term government policies designed to win elections rather than to govern effectively.
While things may look bleak for young Canadians, they can be comforted in the fact that their political weight is growing and, for the first time, they have realized that their votes can swing elections. Many are the pollsters that credit the millennial voting block for Trudeau’s victory in 2015. In 2019, it is estimated that millennials will eclipse ‘baby boomers’ as the largest single voting block in Canada. That is not without impact for all political parties. Since the last election, we’ve seen federal politicians adapt their communications to reach out to a younger audience. We even have one of the youngest slate of federal political leaders in decades. Despite the current impression that millennials are overwhelmingly Liberals, they are starting to turn their back on Justin Trudeau as they have not seen him deliver on some of his key promises, and they find $28.5B to be quite high for a deficit during growth times.
That is exactly what we are witnessing on campus. Previously apolitical students are getting more and more involved with student movements such as Generation Screwed, as they recognize their growing political power, and their need to band together to start defending their interests. As 2019 approaches, I can only assume an increasing number of young Canadians will get involved in movements such as ours, to try and change things for the better.