Concerns have been raised about the lack of political engagement of Canadian youth. During the federal election, voting flash mobs at Canadian universities were seen as a way to get young voters excited and eager to vote.
Unfortunately, most efforts to engage youth have been initiated by groups and organizations that I feel do not reflect the ethno-cultural diversity of Canada's major cities. As an activist in Ottawa's Muslim communities who is passionate about civic engagement, I wanted to take a lead in addressing what I've seen as a lack of engagement among young Muslims of voting age.
On the eve of the second decade of the new century, a renewed alliance between young and old would help Canadians trying to make a better life for more citizens. Much of current public policy debate turns around attempts to foster irrational fears about what the future holds. A prime example is attempts to manipulate public opinion by evoking threats an aging population pose for our public healthcare system. The next generation will stagger around covering the debts incurred to look after the health (and income) needs of retirees; we are told this so often people start to believe it.
This month, 500 youth will be joining together for PowerShift Atlantic, the largest climate justice gathering ever seen in the Atlantic provinces. PowerShift Atlantic is a grassroots led youth initiative that aims to connect, educate, and inspire youth to take up climate justice and environmental issues. We aim to build a transformative and powerful movement, while pushing environmental and climate issues to the forefront of our society. We are building a collaborative and engaged youth experience in Atlantic Canada that is based on consensus and anti-oppression principles.