Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thank you Carol Goar. Sometimes We Forget

When I was at the Ignatieff lunch in Kingston this summer I was impressed with one young man who had come as part of the Young Liberals. An elderly woman approached him to ask a question and give a few suggestions. He stopped what he was doing and stood with her for several minutes. There was no look of impatience or obvious desire to be anywhere but where he was.

Her eyes were sparkling as a connection was made.

I thought now that's what it's all about. She respected him enough to ask her question and seek his input, and he respected her enough to listen and respond.

She was passing the torch.

In today's society we not only dismiss our elderly, but we are also dismissing our youth and I think that's criminal.
International Youth Day came and went without a peep from Canada’s leaders. It was Thursday, Aug. 12. To kick off the International Year of Youth, the United Nations had called on governments around the world to focus on the strengths and needs of their young people. It would have been a perfect occasion to salute the millions of young Canadians who work hard, play by the rules and contribute to their communities, as everything from soccer coaches to food bank volunteers. It would have been a good opportunity to offer hope and help to the 400,000 young job-seekers who can’t find work. It would have been an excellent time to commend their generation for making multiculturalism a living reality.

But Prime Minister Stephen Harper — who seldom uses the word youth without criminal or crackdown in close proximity — said nothing. Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, who is responsible for employment, skills development, student loans and job training, was silent. Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney was otherwise occupied.

Young people in gangs represent a very small percentage of youth in Canada, and yet they are getting all of the attention.

There is never any mention from this government of education or youth employment. Unless you commit a crime or are planning to touch their stuff, they have no interest.

There is something fundamentally wrong with that.

So Happy International Youth Day to All of You.

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