Wednesday, 4 May 2011
Getting Youth Involved in Politics Can Have Effects for a Long Time: The Cases of Charest and Liu
One of the fun things about this election was sitting in a poll with a candidate, who thought she didn't have a chance, and then being there when she learned she'd won.
On Monday I polled watched for the NDP and Laurin Liu, a bright, 20 year old McGill student, was the party point person, the one responsible for collecting reports and making sure all went well. We chatted a bit, and I was impressed by her concentration and evident concern about politics. Then, after we'd watched the count in our respective polls and were waiting for the official vote papers (we use paper ballots for federal elections in Canada, there's only one item on the ballot and the count usually takes less than an hour) someone brought out an IPad and we started getting the first results.
Laurin calmly watched, and then her face turned a lovely shade of pink as she realized that the Orange Wave had carried her to election.
Yesterday she met the press with the other new NPD members of Parliament and quite a bit has made of her youth. But, as Chantale Hébert pointed out on Radio Can this morning, there have been other very young people elected to the House of Commons. Take for example another 20 year old elected on another ground swell of political change in 1984: Jean Charest. Hébert says in the official caucus picture for that session of Parliament he shows up with long and curly hair, looking quite hippy. I haven't been able to find the photo, but here's what the current Liberal premier of Quebec looked like in 1997: much younger for sure.
Don't know if Laurin will go on to such a long political career, but, rest assured, she's a young woman to watch.
Posted by Mary Soderstrom