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Ottawa, Feb 2 (Canadian-Media): A few characteristic policy traits were suggested by young conservatives for their campaigns to make their party more attractive to newer voters, as the the Conservative Party of Canada searches for a new leader, after the resignation of Andrew Scheer in December, media reports said.
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Policies should be laid down for the Conservative Party to follow for the new decade, said Dennis Matthews, vice-president at Enterprise Canada, which should prioritize on topics that matter to younger Canadians, such as the opioid epidemic and the spread of workplace automation.
When asked about the issues they would like to discuss for their parties to win young voters, Conservative millennials suggested that Fighting poverty should be a Conservative goal.
Shakir Chambers, a former senior policy adviser to Ontario Premier Doug Ford who also worked in Stephen Harper's PMO, said that his main focus was on policies that would help people with criminal records.
Other policy issues that were suggested included: Housing, homelessness, the future of work, option to work from home, "family friendly" tax changes, spread of automation; celebrating diversity; responding to online hate, Social isolation, Financial literacy, seniors, and more focus on the people side of policy.
Speaking on the issue of housing which "has real electoral implications in urban and suburban Canada and means completely different things in other parts of the country," said Matthews, pointing to soaring housing prices in Toronto and Vancouver in particular. He also added the federal government will need to take creative measures to prevent many people out of the housing market.
The future of work is an important issue due to the fast changes in the workplace owing to widespread automation and the growth of the gig economy. Young Conservatives say their party should come up with policies to address these issues.
Regarding the issue of celebrating diversity, Chambers said he's heard people say Conservative parties accept diversity, but don't necessarily celebrate it.
Taackling online hate aimed at minority groups as part of a larger emphasis on civil rights should also be looked into by the new conservative leader.
Thirty-three year old Alberta MP Garnett Genuis said that while there are laws prohibiting some of the worst online behaviour, it's not always clear that the authorities are as quick to act as some community members would like.
"Clearly, there's a problem out there in this space."
The urgent issue of social isolation caused by growing automation displacing workers to new virtual currencies is a topic that could get many Canadians to engage with Conservatives.
While it's not a problem that can be addressed overnight, Matthews points to social isolation as the kind of policy
Financial literacy implies the federal government work with other levels of government to make sure young people know more about doing their taxes and how to invest.
"I think there are a lot of folks out there who know nothing about how money actually works," said Matthews.
Last but not the least important is the plight of seniors which might not be the most obvious policy topic for a millennial, said Lauren McDonald, a former director of marketing for Premier Ford, and now director of digital public affairs and campaign strategy at the lobbying firm Proof Strategies.
But she said she believes many people her age are concerned about older Canadians.
On this issue and others, McDonald argues Conservatives need to put more focus on the "people" side of policy.