The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

Justin Trudeau stresses youth engagement during visit to USask

By in News

News Writer

Getting young people involved in the political process should be a top priority in today’s society, according to Liberal Member of Parliament Justin Trudeau.

“This is part of what I’ve been doing since I’ve been elected: getting out and talking to as many young people as I can,” Trudeau said to a group of students at Browsers on Sept. 28.

Trudeau, the eldest child of former prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, currently serves as the opposition critic for youth and is a former high school teacher. Because of this experience, youth involvement is something very close to him.

“My biggest hope is to get more and more young people to realize their strength,” stressed Trudeau. “Unfortunately that connection isn’t there between young people and politics.”

He pointed out that this lack of connection was not because youth aren’t involved but rather because young people today are the most informed generation and they are frustrated that they don’t get listened to.

“Unfortunately we get into a bit of a vicious circle where young people don’t come out to vote,” explained Trudeau, “so politicians don’t reach out to young people, so young people are even less likely to come out to vote. Somewhere, someone has to break that cycle.”

Trudeau pointed out that this was the reason that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff went on a bus tour this summer taking questions on any subject in an effort to let people have their voice heard and to get involved.

Like his party leader, Trudeau took questions from U of S students on all topics including immigration, climate change, the long-gun registry and other rural issues.

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image: Pete Yee

  • I saw a poster saying he was on campus – about 3 hours after he'd left. The advertising for it wasn't great…if I remember right, it was at Browsers, so they may not have been able to fit in many people, hence purposely relatively poor advertising?

  • Another politician trying to “engage youth.” Goody.

    How about instead of trying to “engage” us all the time, the political class actually take some of our concerns seriously. Investments in education, science and technology, foreign aid, environmental stewardship and perhaps a loosening of our drug laws would go a long way to showing young people that they matter in the political process. (I’m not saying those are universally accepted as youth issues, just that they reflect common concerns among younger, more progressive voters.)

    Instead, we get Justin Trudeau’s hair touring the country “talking to as many young people as I can” but what is the result of all this conversation? The two main parties still do not treat young people or students as a significant interest group and issues that resonate with people under 30 are either ignored or simply given lip service.

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