Looking at the current state of Canadian politics, it is easy to argue that the youth are not engaged. For the youth, politicians are not sources of inspiration as their ideas do not create an interest. The youth have not facilitated political fanfare by incorporating the image of political leaders into the fabric of popular culture. Unlike in other countries, Canadian youth have not driven mass political mobilization for change. In countries ripening for democracy, youth movements have taken to the street corners and public squares. Yet in Canada, the youth seem to not care and their political representatives don't bother to commit their time to an apathetic generation.
Many will argue that given the current state, the youth of Canada do not care for either the affairs of the state or society.
Currently, the state of politics in Canada does not call upon the youth to act. When was the last time you heard of a nation-defining ideal echo in the House of Commons? The political malaise of the youth finds source in the lack of dynamic leadership and nation-defining ideas. Not only have we lacked these two essential desires - but also the need of lively debate. A nation-defining ideal lacks luster without adequate discourse. In Ottawa, political debate on ideas and public policy has been replaced by the proliferation of political games and character assassinations.
Political activism is no longer seen as the main avenue for initiating change in Canada. For the youth, politics has been trumped by advocacy. Canada's youth are passionate about social progress and they want their voice to be heard. Canadian youth support clubs on their university campuses, non-governmental organizations and community groups. Call it grassroots politics or social advocacy, use any terminology - it doesn't matter, for the youth they believe they are initiating change. Direct action, targeting an issue or promoting an ideal head on, is more intriguing than accepting a depression, that of Canadian politics.
Despite the repose Canadian youth may receive from advocacy, this cannot remain the primary mode for societal activity. Canada is changing demographically. Our population is getting older and the torch of responsibility is the verge of being hoisted and handed off to the next generation of Canadian leaders. The youth have a responsibility to build off of the successes of previous generations and acknowledge their failures by establishing new solutions. That responsibility can only be accepted through political engagement.
Building on their achievements in social advocacy, Canadian youth must become politically active.
At the 2012 biennial convention of the Liberal Party of Canada, 33% of all the delegates in attendance were under the age of thirty years old. Not only were the youth at the convention engaged but were also politically effective. The party's youth wing, the Young Liberals of Canada, have been the voice of same-sex marriage, long term commitment to Africa, questioning the role of the British monarchy in relation to a multicultural and bilingual Canada, and legalizing marijuana. The latter two ideas were presented as policy at this convention, with the marijuana policy being accepted by the party. Youth in the Liberal Party, acting out of the largest youth political organization in Canada, have impacted the role of policy formulation and adaptation.
BLOG CONTINUES AFTER GALLERY..
For the Liberal Party of Canada, the time for change and renewal has begun. In April of 2013, the Liberal Party will choose a new leader. This election, a non-member of the party can vote in the leadership race by signing up as supporter of the party. This leadership vote will be the most open in the history of Canadian democracy.
The 2013 leadership vote is the chance for Canadian youth to choose a leader fit to represent their values.
The time has come for the youth of Canada to cease their apathy of the broken political process and actively become part of the solution. Before the torch is handed to us for safekeeping we need to understand on thing very clearly: the political responsibility expected of us in the future goes beyond fulfilling the basic necessities of Canadian state and society, we must also comprehend the dreams and achieve the hopes of our citizens, long-gone unfulfilled.
The Liberal Party of Canada is changing, and the youth of Canada will lead that change.