Look at the issues, get informed and vote.

And if you don’t agree with any of the choices, decline your ballot, says a young worker and volunteer outreach coordinator with the Windsor Workers’ Education Centre.

“At least vote. Make sure that our message is being heard loud and clear,” said Melisa Larue, one of about 300 people who gathered outside of Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak’s constituency office in Beamsville Monday to protest against the party’s platform.

Larue said many young voters don’t feel the three major political parties are adequately addressing their concerns.

“I think a lot of it has to do with (youth) just don’t see themselves with any platform representation. Their issues are not being shown, so they’re not standing behind it.”

She said the Green party receives a lot of votes from young people, but nowhere near enough to get them into a position of power.

And the PC party, said Larue, are the ones with the least to offer young people.

She said when it comes to issues such as education, health care, pensions and the environment, the Tory platform has a lot of “holes” in it.

“When (Hudak) addresses the million-jobs plan, it doesn’t actually look at what are the jobs being created for young workers and it’s more likely to be precarious work and at the same time driving down wages,” she said.

“NDP has proposed a youth jobs strategy, but it’s not really clear what they’re going to do. “The Liberals . promised (to keep the 30% tuition grant), which is good, but they haven’t really come out in any other strong stances on education.”

Hundreds of retirees, young workers and students rallied outside of Hudak’s constituency office at noon. The National Pensioners Federation organized the protest.

Herb John, president of the federation, said Hudak’s plan to cut 100,000 public-sector jobs would have a “huge impact on young people looking for work and seniors who rely on much-needed services.

“We don’t believe that austerity is the way to . build communities and bring prosperity to Ontario. We’ve seen from other countries that austerity programs don’t work.”

When it comes to pension-plan proposals, John said he favours the NDP approach, which calls on the federal government to strengthen the Canada Pension Plan.

He said the Liberal proposal for an Ontario Retirement Pension Plan as a supplement to the CPP is a “good idea, but only in the absence of federal leadership.

“I think (the NDP has) the best plan because it’s something that already exists. It doesn’t make a lot of sense if we have the option of doing that to start something else provincially. We need a national standard for pensions and we need a lot of other national standards for health care and housing that we don’t have.”

When asked to respond to Monday’s protest, Jacqui Delaney, a senior campaign member of Hudak’s team, said the PC party has a “comprehensive” platform that addresses the economy.

“Growth in the private sector provides new tax dollars to help pay for government services,” said Delaney. “We know we can build a ‘previously unimagined’ Ontario, but it’s going to take some courage and a willingness to challenge the failed status quo. That’s what our Ontario PC party platform million-jobs plan delivers.”

National Pensioners Federation

70: Years in existence
350: Clubs, approximately, across Canada
1M: Members, approximately
Advocates for stronger pensions, social programs