MP Justin Trudeau says youth not given chance to make a difference

Posted By Mark Hoult Community Press

Mark Hoult

Community Press

Campbellford — Only one in five people between 18 and 25 voted in the last federal election, a statistic that makes many concerned adults level charges of apathy and disengagement against young people.

Papineau MP Justin Trudeau is not one of them.

The Liberal party’s official critic for youth and multiculturalism says if today’s young people appear cynical, apathetic and disconnected it’s not because they don’t care about the world. It’s because “they care so much that they are deeply frustrated that they aren’t given the tools to shape the world they want to see.”

Trudeau, who was a teacher and community activist before entering politics, said he has first-hand knowledge of the generation that is growing up in today’s world.

“They are incredibly well informed, incredibly aware and incredibly idealistic about the world they want to live in,” he said.

Youth today are more engaged than ever before in their schools and communities, Trudeau told a room full of community volunteers Wednesday at Campbellford-Brighton Community Living in Campbellford. But they are not particularly interested in mainstream politics or mainstream media, and they don’t fixate on issues such as H1N1, he said. Instead, young people are worried about the environment, poverty and the starvation of children in Africa. And they are worried about what the world will be like in 50 years.

“That for me demonstrates that there is a generation coming that is passionate about making the world a better place,” Trudeau said. “And when the establishment starts to make a place for them, and empower them, and bring them in, then everything becomes possible.”

Getting young people involved in their communities and in politics is not simply a nice idea, it’s “a means to an end,” he said.

It’s a way to make sure people will have the capacity to meet the world’s challenges with “confidence and dynamic energy.”