01/15/2012 04:58 EST | Updated 03/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Youth Rocked the Liberal Convention


Last year around this time, I argued that to be relevant, the Liberals needed to look to the youth vote, consider democratic renewal within and outside their party, and abandon the drug war. A year later at their convention, many members seemed to agree.

Liberals adopted Mike Crawley, the preferred choice by many young Liberals, as party president. They also adopted, in a nod to the need for electoral reform, a preferential balloting system.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the large majority support for the legalization of marijuana.

However exciting these developments are, this is still the Liberal Party. Defeated motions included curbing the totally undemocratic power of the yet-to-be elected Liberal leader to overrule policies passed by members and refusing to even consider rethinking what Canada's relationship to the monarchy should be in the 21st century. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Yet, this did not look like a party on the brink of extinction. Young Liberals at the convention should be proud of their role and organizing ability. Their success should bolster efforts of many to educate young Canadians on the importance of our democracy and their voice within it.