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British Columbians of All Ages Think Younger Politicians Should Step Up and Lead

August 7, 2018

August 7 2018 – Vancouver, BC – The Forum for Millennial Leadership (FML) today released new opinion research conducted by Research Co, which sheds light on what different generations of B.C. voters are thinking in the leadup to municipal elections on October 20th.

“This municipal election is a renewal cycle, and it’s a generational awakening. People of all ages and beliefs want to see younger elected officials step up and take leadership,” said Gavin Dew, founder of FML.

The Forum for Millennial Leadership is a recently-launched non-partisan organization dedicated to strengthening the voice of the largest generation in Canada. FML helps to #ElectMillennials regardless of party, ideology, or level of government.

When asked to describe their current feelings about the future, younger and older British Columbians hold opposite views. 54% of 18-34 year olds are pessimistic, while 37% are optimistic. Meanwhile, 61% of people 55 or older are optimistic, and 31% are pessimistic.

British Columbians between 18 and 34 now see City Council as the level of government that impacts them most in their daily lives, with 59% viewing their local council as very impactful or moderately impactful, ahead of the federal (50%) and provincial (51%) governments. School Boards are seen as very or moderately impactful by 44% of 18-34 year olds, 35% of 35-54 year olds, and 28% of 55+.

Despite seeing municipal government as important, younger people lack direct representation. “For example, there are 155 Mayors and Councillors in Metro Vancouver, and only a dozen are under 40 – in a region that has one of the highest concentrations of Millennials in Canada,” said Dew.

There is strong demand for a new generation of leaders. 75% of British Columbians agree or strongly agree that “younger people need to step up and take leadership in politics”, including an equal 77% of both 18-34 year olds and 55+ voters. That sentiment carries across the partisan spectrum, with support from 88% of people who voted for the BC Greens in 2017, 81% of those who voted for the BC Liberal Party, and 78% of those who voted NDP.

 

Among 18-34 year-olds, 67% believe “it’s my generation’s turn to lead,” a sentiment shared by 60% of 35-54 year olds. Meanwhile, only 23% of British Columbians over 55 believe it is their generation’s turn to lead, and 62% think it is not.

While there is widespread demand for younger political leadership, there is a confidence gap. Only 26% of 18-34 year olds believe that candidates their age are taken seriously, and 59% believe they are not.

“Millennials are the largest generation in Canada,” said Dew. “But we are disproportionately underrepresented at all levels of government. Waiting and complaining won’t change that. It’s time for Millennials to step up, take leadership, and carve out our place at the table.”

 Results are based on an online study conducted by Research Co from July 30 to August 2, 2018, among 800 adults in British Columbia.  The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

For polling tables, click here.