Feds want to hear voices of youth
by Shelagh Fitz
“If you had a problem in the Black community, and you brought in a group of White people to discuss how to solve it, almost nobody would take that panel seriously. In fact, there’d probably be a public outcry. It would be the same the for women’s issues or gay issues. But every day, in local arenas all the way to the White House, adults sit around and decide what problems youth have and what youth need, without ever consulting us.” — Jason, 17 years old, Youth Force Member, Bronx, NY
Through a new initiative, youth will have the opportunity to have their voices heard. Applications are now being accepted for the Pickering-Uxbridge Constituency Youth Council. Open to youth aged 14 – 26, the Constituency Youth Council is an opportunity for youth to contribute their own unique perspective on government policy and issues that affect their communities. As a member of the Constituency Youth Council, youth will have the opportunity to offer a youth-focused viewpoint to Pickering-Uxbridge MP Jennifer O’Connell. Armed with this information, and informed by the needs of all constituents, O’Connell can return to Ottawa to speak with authority on issues that directly affect the youth of today.
Uxbridge has featured many youth who have taken it upon themselves to step up and offer change. Josh Morrison and his Penny House for Habitat for Humanity, and the many students who have participated in volun-tourism efforts in Central America, Africa and beyond are just an example. South of the border, there has been much made of the youth in Florida speaking out against gun violence, the NRA and slack gun laws. Youth have shown over and over again that they have something to offer; they simply need a platform upon which to be heard.
With this initiative, politically-engaged youth may find they can elicit change on a greater, country-wide scale. The council will also offer a window into the Canadian political process and the constraints faced by even the most well-meaning politicians. The council will meet twice monthly. Interested parties must complete and submit an application which is available at: https://goo.gl/forms/soYWafM000ikzcjB2. The deadline to apply is February 7, 2019.