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Ginny Roth, a public relations consultant and devout Conservative, reckons that more than 75 of the 117 Tory MPs in the House of Commons are the same age as leader Pierre Poilievre – who is 44 – or younger.

Many young voters, especially young men, are moving to the right. They are now far more likely to support the Conservative Party than the Liberal Party. This confounds some older voters, who mistakenly assumed that each generation would be more progressive than the one that came before.

The reason for the disconnect is simple. As Ms. Roth put it when she moderated a panel of young Conservative politicians last week that was hosted by the Canadian Club of Toronto: “Politics is dominated by homeowners.”

That is, the political discourse in the media, the academy, the public service, the cultural industries and the like is largely controlled by older, well-off citizens who own their homes, who profit from rising housing prices and who aren’t affected by high interest rates because they’ve paid off the mortgage.

At a visceral level, such people simply can’t grasp the sense of futility that so many young Canadians feel at being unable to afford a home. Or perhaps a young couple was able to put down a down payment, but now confront skyrocketing mortgage payments, even as inflation eats away at their wages.

As Simcoe North MP Adam Chambers, one of the panelists, explained: “A bunch of young people were just told for two years that they had to put their life on pause for a virus that wasn’t really going to affect them, but they had to do it for the good of the community.”

And they did. They locked down, obeyed the rules, got their vaccines.

“Then they re-emerged to find houses completely unaffordable, the economy’s completely different, and by the way, we just doubled the national debt and they’re responsible for paying for it,” Mr. Chambers said. “So of course they’re frustrated.”

He added: “It’s not a surprise to me that young people look at the world today and say, ‘I’m kind of looking for something different.’ ”

Frustration over housing affordability, interest rates, inflation and declining real wages have powered a massive swing toward the Conservatives among younger Canadians.

On the day of the 2021 election, according to an Ipsos poll, 38 per cent of voters 34 and younger supported the Liberals, while only 24 per cent supported the Conservatives. In contrast, the two parties were tied at 32 per cent among voters who were 35-54. (Older voters heavily favoured the Conservatives, as they traditionally do.)

Compare those numbers with an Abacus poll released this week. Among voters 29 and younger, the Tories are ahead of the Liberals 36 per cent to 21 per cent. Among those 30 to 44, the gap is 41 per cent to 21 per cent. (The online survey of 2,125 adults Feb. 15-21 had a comparable margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.)

Round it out, and it’s safe to say that support for the Liberals among younger voters has fallen by more than half since the last election.

Liberal strategists say they have to do a better job of communicating their policies. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accuses Mr. Poilievre of stoking fear and anger.

But that’s not the root of it. Younger voters were facing affordability changes before the pandemic. The aftershocks of the lockdowns made things much worse for them. They blame, in part, the Liberals and Mr. Trudeau.

Progressives shudder at Mr. Poilievre’s indifference to climate change, his pandering to social conservatives, his nudging and winking at conspiracy theories.

But Mr. Poilievre latched onto the inflation issue long before Liberals or even the Bank of Canada acknowledged the danger. He threatens to compel municipalities to allow more housing construction or be punished. He vows to “Axe the tax. Build the homes. Fix the budget. Stop the crime.” Simplistic, yes. But as was said at the Canada Club event: Simple isn’t easy.

The Conservative Party has positioned itself exactly where it needs to be to secure the support of younger, economically insecure middle-class voters. This seems to confuse many older, economically secure middle-class voters. It certainly confuses the Liberals.

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