Since the start of 2012, three major national political parties and the Ontario PC Party have had conventions. The Liberal Party of Canada held its National convention in January in Ottawa, the Ontario PC Party met in Niagara Falls in the month of February, the Conservative Youth Conference took place in Montreal last month and just two weeks ago the NDP met in Toronto to select a new leader.
Conventions have evolved, in the last few years the number of youth involved and engaged in politics has increased. It is so wonderful to see our next generation become more involved than we as adults may have been at that age. I am attributing the growth to social media, greater access to information and an enlightened generation of parents that encouraged participation to make a difference and create change. In “Waiting on the world to change” John Mayer sings about a generation that is waiting for change and not having the power to make the change. That message could not be farther from the truth from what I have seen firsthand and through the news coverage of the various conventions. I also believe that the activism that is the Occupy movement is a result of the awareness of the youth of our nation, their ambition to make a difference is commended and encouraged.
While I hear that some are worried about the leaders of tomorrow, I do not share their concerns. I do not have personal experience with the youth of the Liberal, Green or New Democratic parties, I have seen the Conservative youth in action supporting their beliefs working on campaigns and taking part in their campus activities and throwing their energetic support behind candidates and policies at conventions. Recently I was able to join both the Ottawa U and Carleton Conservatives at social events they hosted. Ottawa U hosted a “Super Tuesday” pub night and it was fabulous to see the enthusiasm that everyone had for the candidate they were supporting. Watching the results come in for the GOP primaries was something I would have done at home, but at the pub it was an enhanced atmosphere, not unlike that of an election night. The Carleton Conservatives held a Meet Rob Dekker night at Oliver’s where I had the opportunity to meet and talk with the university’s Conservative and Love of Liberty groups. I was joined by fellow PC candidates Fred Sherman (Ottawa Vanier) and Andrew Lister (Ottawa Orleans) that evening and we each had the chance to talk with the many young people that came out that night. I am looking forward to the students return in the fall and the opportunity to talk, hear their great ideas and feel the enthusiasm that these college and university students have for the future of Ontario and Canada
I think John Mayer has it wrong, the next generation of leaders are making the change happen and it is important that our leaders today embrace the ideas and energy of our next Premiers and Prime Ministers. We need to mentor the next generation to ensure that we will be in as good hands, if not better than we are today.
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