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What Greater Victoria candidates say about young people—and who they think young people are

Candidates say priority issues for young people in the region are housing and recreation

By Michael John Lo
October 7, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

What Greater Victoria candidates say about young people—and who they think young people are

Candidates say priority issues for young people in the region are housing and recreation

Candidates identified housing as the top issue facing young people. Photo: Michael John Lo / Capital Daily
Candidates identified housing as the top issue facing young people. Photo: Michael John Lo / Capital Daily
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

What Greater Victoria candidates say about young people—and who they think young people are

Candidates say priority issues for young people in the region are housing and recreation

By Michael John Lo
October 7, 2022
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What Greater Victoria candidates say about young people—and who they think young people are
Candidates identified housing as the top issue facing young people. Photo: Michael John Lo / Capital Daily

The Capital Daily candidate database included an open-ended prompt: ”Young people in my community are…”. The prompt was designed to gauge a candidate’s perspective on young people, and candidates were given 300 characters to answer in whatever way they saw fit. 

Survey responses indicated that housing and recreational opportunities are the two top-ranked issues identified by candidates, with affordability and climate change coming in third and fourth respectively.

Some candidates interpreted the term “young people” to mean those still in junior high and high school. Others, particularly candidates from Highlands talked about young families and their children.

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“Many young families have moved to the Highlands recently and neighbourhoods are coming alive with kids,” responded Ann Baird, who is running for re-election to Highlands council.

Victoria council candidate Steve Orcherton’s answer, uniquely, included those who are middle-aged and seniors: “Many young people along with many middle-aged people and seniors are frustrated with the difficult economic and social circumstances and issues we are all faced with, ” he wrote.

While 28 candidates took the opportunity to speak positively about young people, slightly more—30 respondents—painted a bleaker picture of the stress and frustration that young people in the region face. Three out of seven respondents from Sooke were concerned about how young people were leaving their community—more than any other municipality, though candidates from Metchosin and Saanich also responded in similar fashion—with some citing unaffordability and housing as the main factors.

Housing, the most frequently cited issue, was usually raised in the context of affordability. “[Young people] have lost faith. They don't think they will ever be able to own a home, have a family,” said the 23-year-old Saanich candidate Jordan MacDougall.

VIVA Victoria candidate Jeremy Maddock’s answer took a combative tone: “[Young people are] either totally disengaged from the political process or sadly misled as to who represents their interests,” he wrote. “Young people should be encouraged to participate in a vibrant free market that will ensure their future, not infantilized by an unsustainable welfare state.”

Four candidates gave one-word answers: Lorien Arnold running in Sooke described young people as “leaving.” Others were more positive: Derek Pinto running in Victoria, with “Wonderful!”, Richard Novek running in Sidney with “Valued!”, and Sid Tobias running in View Royal with “Incredible.”

The all-candidates campaign circuit for Victoria and Saanich ended this week with a stop at UVic, where they will have a chance to make their pitch to those on campus.

Saanich council candidate Nathalie Chambers, whose answer said that youth are “suffering mental health and addiction issues,” began her introduction at the forum with a call for students to work at her organic farm next spring.

Many touched on how they once studied or worked at UVic. “Sounds like we’re having an alumni meeting tonight,” joked Saanich council candidate Susan Brice on Thursday’s forum.

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Michael John Lo
Editorial Intern
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