Champions of Democracy – Barrie Young Liberals

The Barrie Young Liberals

After a devastating loss at the federal level, local Liberal youth in Barrie, Ontario formed a brand new Young Liberal club in their city. I came to notice this group during the lead up to the Liberal Party of Canada’s 2012 Biennial Convention because of the stellar work this group did in vetting the candidates nominated for election to the National Executive Board. This newly formed youth group was able to get all candidates for National Policy Chair to visit their town and discuss their platforms with the local Young Liberal club.  BYL (Barrie Young Liberals) achieved this through the sheer force of their own hunger for information in order to ensure they’d be informed delegates at the Biennial convention. Essentially, they acted as I wish every voter in this country would – they got engaged, they got involved, and they got informed. They did not wait to be noticed or to be encouraged to participate. They acted and through their fearlessness they achieved a great deal.

But they did not just inform themselves. They went a step further and filmed these valuable meetings so that they could share their experience with other delegates. They did not stop at the bare minimum or even the exceptional. They continued their outreach until they had achieved something extraordinary. This is also how I wish every voter in Canada acted – not just as engaged citizens but as engaging citizens, reaching out to those around them and encouraging others to do the same.

BYL Gives Back

What BYL has done for the internal democracy of the Liberal Party of Canada is substantial but only the beginning of why the Barrie Young Liberals are what I would consider true Champions of Democracy. They have gone beyond participating in important events dedicated to the discussion of important issues in society or volunteering on campaigns beyond their riding borders, as they did recently in Toronto-Danforth. They have done those things too, but also so much more. In the short time the club has existed, they have also participated in countless community events and supported numerous charitable causes. They have volunteered together at the Salvation Army Bayside Mission in Barrie and will soon be participating in the MS Society’s MS Walk to end multiple sclerosis. Despite being a political club, their service is to their community and it is individuals like the members of this club that give me great hope for the future of politics in this country.

The True Expression of Our Aims

The club’s relentless focus on bettering their community and by extension our society is to be commended. But just as impressive as the work the club is doing is the fact that these are young adults dedicating their free time to the causes and beliefs that led them to get involved in politics to begin with. Too often those in politics begin with good intentions and get lost along the way, distracted by other, less meaningful concerns. It is my hope that the Barrie Young Liberals are celebrated by their peers at the upcoming Ontario Young Liberal Annual General Meeting in May for the exceptional work they have done and the inspiring blueprint they have laid out for other Young Liberal clubs. They have demonstrated clearly that politics can be a fruitful, rewarding, and meaningful pursuit when your purpose is genuine and your actions are the true expression of your aims.

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Theresa Lubowitz is a student of philosophy and public administration. Her scholastic interests lie in post-Confederation Canadian history with emphasis on federal political history as well as current affairs in Canadian civics. She has an general interest in electoral reform and is particularly interested in electoral system design theory as well as game theory in regards to balloting. Her passion is the push for the re-engagement of the electorate in regards to civic participation in Canada and hopes to play a role in the reversal of the democratic deficit creeping across the country.

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