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Canadians civic-minded, but not political: study

The majority of Canadians don't participate in political activity, not even acts as simple as posting political information on Facebook or Twitter.

That's according to a new study by Samara, a non-partisan organization that aims to increase political engagement. The study examined Canadians' participation in 20 types of political activity.

The study found that although Canadians are taking part in civic activities -- for example, 55 per cent volunteer and 58 per cent are part of a group or organization -- far fewer are involved in direct political activities.

For instance, in the past year only 31 per cent of Canadians have contacted an elected official. Only 10 per cent have donated money to a political campaign in the past five years.

According to Samara, there may be a link between low voter turnout and political engagement. Only 61 per cent of eligible voters participated in the last federal election. Less than 35 per cent turned out for municipal elections in Vancouver.

The cause of this low political participation is unclear. The organization's previous research also indicates that the majority of Canadians are dissatisfied with the way their interests are represented by the federal government.

The findings also revealed that youths aged 18 to 34 were more likely to participate in political activities than adults in all categories except for direct political activities.

Maryse Zeidler is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

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