The objective of this research is to document and analyze the presence of young, elected officials (18-35 years old) in municipal politics in Quebec. To do this, the research is designed around four axes. The first is to document the socio-demographic profile of these elected officials and their trajectory. The other two axes are more interested in the opportunities and obstacles they encounter during the electoral campaign and during the exercise of their mandate. Identifying the presence of young, elected officials and understanding their challenges is of interest to academic research that attempts to grasp the logics and obstacles that structure democratic representation in general and at the municipal level. The production of knowledge on this little-known reality of young elected officials is also strategic for the partner, the Union of Municipalities of Quebec (UMQ), which has been making efforts for several years to recruit a more diversified municipal succession, in terms of age and gender, without being able to rely on conclusive data. The research proposed here is therefore of twofold importance, both scientific and applied, since it will help to inform analyses of the representativeness bias of Canadian political elites and the UMQ's policies targeting a greater diversity of candidates for the 2025 municipal elections.
The project is a partnership that brings together the principal researcher and the UMQ. The scientific expertise of Anne Mévellec, a specialist in the sociology of elected municipal officials, will be supported by two graduate students and the University of Ottawa’s Centre on Governance. For its part, the UMQ, and particularly the Youth Commission, will commit its human resources throughout the project: in the process of co-construction of the questionnaire, in the administration of the latter to its members, in the initial processing of the responses, in the more detailed analyses and finally in the valorization of the results. The results of this research will be used to inform the UMQ's reflection on its youth policies, whether they target the recruitment or training of young, elected officials. They will also be disseminated in several forums made available by the UMQ (annual conference, Urba magazine and social media). In addition, the results will be disseminated in the academic sphere by the researcher and the students.