PM Trudeau discusses the Youth Council at a town hall in Calgary, Alberta
QUESTION: I work with Children’s Legal and Educational Centre, providing legal help to vulnerable youth. I'm just wondering how you plan to utilize your Youth Council to better the lives of all vulnerable children around Canada.
RT HON JUSTIN TRUDEAU: A great question. The Youth Council behind me are 26 young people from across the country who were chosen from over 16,000 young people who applied online, who said they wanted to be part of this political process, engaging directly with the Prime Minister and his cabinet on youth issues. And one of the fundamental reasons for it is politicians and politics in general have done a very poor job over the past years of engaging young people and we were stuck in a bit of a vicious circle where politicians didn’t bother talking to or about young people because young people didn’t vote. And so young people were even less motivated to come out and vote because they weren’t being engaged at all, and therefore politicians were validated in not reaching out to them, and you had a spiralling circle that I was pleased to be part of braking in the last election as young people stepped up and voted more for all different parties than they ever had before. And we can be very, very proud of that as a country.
But getting young people out to vote isn’t just about getting a few more bodies out to vote, although that’s very nice. It’s also about recognizing what insights and abilities young people bring to a political conversation. Young people are used to change, from high school to university to your first job, to your first apartment, to buying a home, to starting a family. Massive transitions, upheavals happen in your life as a young person and being able to be resilient in the face of change, to understand that change can be daunting but is also positive is something we need to bring into our political thinking a little bit more.
We need to challenge the status quo. We need to think critically about how we can move forward in different and better ways about the leaps we might need to take as communities or as societies to be reflective and responsive to the changes in technology, in automation, in the job market that we’re facing. So drawing in young people to the very heart of the kind of political conversations we’re having is absolutely essential, and I am incredibly proud of this group of young people, but also of young people who have activated across the country in various municipal councils, provincial councils, for ministers, who are understanding that your voices matter deeply in shaping the long term future of the country we’re part of. Thank you for your work with youth and thank you all as well for all the work everyone is doing in terms of this.