National Post (Latest Edition)
Millennials were catfished by Trudeau
In 2015, Millennials swiped right on Justin Trudeau. His profile seemed promising: he was interested in social justice, into yoga and feminism, and boasted a great sock collection.
By 2019, there were some red flags. He was more into electoral reform in theory than in practice and, as it turns out, you can be too into theme parties. But, still, next to Andrew Scheer, he looked like a winner.
Now, it’s clear Millennials were catfished.
Trudeau’s commitment to young Canadians was just a convenient pickup line; his wokeness a filter that blurred a much less-principled reality.
Conservatives, this is your chance. While it’s true Millennials, the country’s largest potential voting block, once turned out for Trudeau, they’re now disillusioned. And for good reason. The prime minister is stumbling on, if not actively screwing up, the issues most important to them. Young Canadians, once firmly in Trudeau’s camp, are one double-digit home price increase away from pelting the man with unripe avocados.
This presents the perfect opportunity for Erin O’toole and the Conservatives to win over Millennials come next election. However, first, they need to actually try. There’s been little to no (effective) messaging to younger generations from the Tories, perhaps because past failures left the impression Millennials are a lost cause. But if you can’t appeal to younger voters, where’s the party’s future? Conservatives need to lick their wounds from elections past and seize this golden political opportunity.
The recipe is simple. First, go hard on housing. Present a real plan to address the crisis and shout from the rooftops how Trudeau’s time in office poured the fuel in the real estate rocket. During his tenure, owning a home went from being a goal, to a far fetched dream, to a practical impossibility for most Millennials and Gen Z. Despite experts not just in Canada, but around the world, sounding the alarm, neither Trudeau nor his finance minister Chrystia Freeland have even uttered the words “housing crisis.”
This didn’t happen by accident; it was a series of concerted choices by those in power. The Liberals’ own parliamentary secretary for housing admits the government fostered a better market for foreign investors than local buyers, but says even a 10 per cent decline in house prices that soared up to 40 per cent year over year would be unacceptable. Yes, Erin, I saw your tweet lamenting you’re “saddened too many Canadians are priced out of their own country.” But that ain’t it. Get mad. Present a road map to affordability.
Next up, win over the millennial and Gen Z creator community and, by extension, their many followers. You’ve practically been served their support on a golden platter — if you can explain the Liberals’ internet regulation legislation, Bill C-10, in their language and why it could have terrifying consequences for creators on Youtube, Tiktok, Twitch, and other social media platforms.
Young artists and entrepreneurs could have their careers turned upside down with barely any public consultation via legislation that’s either ill-considered or authoritarian. Sure, Bill C-10 is on pause for now, but it’ll return in some form and the Liberals’ clear lack of consultation with creators shows exactly how much they value them and their livelihoods. Conservatives can be the first Canadian political party to take the creator economy seriously — not by posting funny Tiktok videos, but by catering to their very real business interests and concerns about freedom of speech online.
Then there’s the social justice file. Our “feminist” prime minister continues to oversee a sexual misconduct crisis in the military. He supports Indigenous rights, yet still can’t seem to find a way to provide them with clean drinking water in one of the world’s wealthiest nations. He says things like “poverty is sexist,” but gives out tax-free payments that aren’t means tested to the
TRUDEAU’S TIME IN OFFICE POURED THE FUEL IN THE REAL ESTATE ROCKET.
wealthiest generation in history and billions of dollars to the country’s richest corporations with practically no oversight.
In this regard, Trudeau is exposing his own hypocrisy. Attack him on these issues, but otherwise stay out of culture wars and the temptation to take low blows. Be loud in your support for LGBTQ rights, equality for women, and continue to recruit young, diverse candidates like rising star Melissa Lantsman as the party’s new face. Put these candidates front and centre. Listen to them when they suggest change. Get them talking to fellow young people not just in their ridings, but on a national scale.
Of course, this whole effort depends on hiring a competent social media team so you don’t walk face first into dumb, entirely avoidable controversies over your wife handing you a beer or callous one-dose summer memes. Social media is the main medium through which you’ll be speaking to young Canadians; if you want their vote, you have to take it as seriously as any other part of your campaign.
Next election, many Millennials and Gen Z will be looking for a change. There’s no reason Conservatives can’t capitalize on this — if they put in the effort to present themselves as a viable option for younger voters and a party that will protect their interests. There’s never been a better time to secure the party’s future. Erin, what are you waiting for?