Claire Boucher is using her platform to do whatever she can to remove Canadian Conservatives from power.
To say that Grimes is outspoken would be an understatement. Throughout her musical career the artist, real name Claire Boucher, has never been shy about speaking her mind, and that extends to her political beliefs as well. A quick look at Twitter reveals that Boucher has a lot to say about Stephen Harper, and she's vocal in her assertion that her fans get out and vote in the hopes of bringing the Conservative reign in Canada to an end.
We spoke to her over email to find out what she thinks more people should be talking about, and how she thinks the mainstream media is covering Canada's election.
VICE: Why the fuck is no one talking about this election?
Grimes: I'm not sure. I must be in an awesome bubble, because most of my friends are pretty passionate about it. That said, I know a lot of people who didn't even know an election was happening until I told them! I don't think a lot of the people involved know how to reach the youth. Most of my friends engage more with American media than Canadian media. My mom and I are working to do some more outreach type things to get my peers involved, like giving away free concert tickets and stuff, trying to talk to kids about voting.
Such a small group of people need to be motivated to get the Conservatives out for this election. In 2008, the Vancouver South riding was decided by 20 votes, for example. I'd love to motivate those 20 people to vote. I think if more young people in the public eye can start motivating our peers and fans we can make a real difference!
Why do you think young people don't vote?
There are definitely some infrastructure changes that need to happen to make voting more available to young/poor people, like online voting and stuff. But I don't know if it matters why young people don't vote. What matters is getting them motivated to vote. The last election was decided by fewer than 10,000 people. I play to more people than that all the time. I just want to do anything I can to get young people to vote.
But I also think that people are only just starting to feel the Harper government's cuts. In the last election, school was cheap, life was good. I think more people will vote this time. I think people are starting to understand why it's important.
When you travel overseas do you hear anything about Canada's government?
Never. People are surprised when I tell them that Canada isn't an environmentally friendly utopia where everyone is treated equally. I'm happy about the New York Times and the Guardian and other outlets who have been shining a spotlight on important issues like Canada's tar sands, the massive environmental destruction, and corruption within the Harper government and the treatment of Canada's poor.
As a Canadian living in the US, what's it like keeping up with the election from the outside? What do your American friends think about it?
My American friends are typically unaware. I think most people understandably don't keep up with the minutiae of foreign politics. I find Canadian politics easy to keep up with though, at least in a general way, but my mom works at the National Observer and most of my friends are fairly political, so I've always been plugged in.
What are your big issues going into this election?
Getting anyone besides Conservatives/Harper into power is priority number one. I also feel like the NDP and Liberals need to join together. They are splitting the vote and it's a MASSIVE problem. Other than that, the environment and the missing and murdered indigenous women are some of the most important issues for me. I could go on but I'll keep it simple for now.