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Party leaders need to remember the youth in the upcoming 2022 Ontario election

The 2022 Ontario provincial election is just around the corner. The major party leaders will have to come up with policy and campaign on issues that haven’t ever been relevant in other election cycles. This will be the first election since COVID-19 began.

The issue of Climate Change has proven to change our lives over the past four years. We’ve seen it in federal elections, in 2019 and 2021, if a party didn’t put forward a serious enough climate plan they didn’t win Government. That also is likely going to prove to be relevant in the 2022 Ontario provincial election. No party will be able to win Government if they don’t put forward a justifiable climate plan.

In 2018, there were some flaws in some of the parties’ climate plans, but ultimately voters decided. This time, climate policy will be even more important than it was in 2018. The various parties haven’t largely discussed their plans yet, and probably won’t do so until we’re in campaign mode. This may prove to be beneficial, some of the parties may be waiting a little while longer to see what voters would like to see in a party’s climate plan. The plans of the various parties will need to be bold, different, and unique. People are starting to live with the effects of climate change such as wildfires which are obviously displacing people from their homes, and causing other issues.

Although climate change will be a very relevant and pressing issue, there will be numerous other issues, that will be important. The Ontario Liberal Party, Ontario NDP, and Ontario Green Party, all underperformed what they were hoping to do in 2018, which was of course to form the Government. This means all the opposition parties, will need to probably change some of their ideas from the 2018 election campaign. The 2018 election campaign, was of course unprecedented, with the seat count won by the Liberal Party falling much below what they had hoped for. This election the Ontario NDP and Ontario Green Party, will need to campaign differently given that they now have to face the rise of the Ontario Liberal Party, once again. In order for that to happen, they will all need to put forward a serious and credible plan to get us out of COVID-19.

The three opposition parties have been talking throughout the pandemic about what they would’ve done differently. They will need to echo the things they’ve been saying over the past two years during the election campaign. The Ontario Liberal Party has a fresh slate of candidates in many ridings, candidates who are young, diverse, and ready to lead. However, that doesn’t mean the other parties don’t. The Ontario PC Party and the current Government, have also shown to take youth representation seriously. They’ve appointed the youngest Provincial Environment Minister.

The idea of youth representation will also be important, no leader will be able to win without showing and explaining their plans to youth across Ontario. The youth demographic is becoming bigger, every election cycle and that includes this time around. In order for parties to win over the support of youth, they need to do things like have a credible climate plan as well as a plan to exit COVID-19. The past two years have been tough on youth and their mental health and that’s why it’ll be important for the various party leaders to show that they care about the youth voting demographic.

Wyatt Sharpe is a 13 year old journalist and host of The Wyatt Sharpe Show. Wyatt resides in Clarington, Ontario.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.