Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Importance Of The Youth: Kennedy and Ignatieff

Youth is one of, if not the most important factor in this Leadership race. For two reasons, the first is that youth delegates and the youth of the Party play a huge part in the race by being around 33% of the delegates and having the technological skills to blast into the blogosphere (excluding of course the exceptions of Cerberus and Cherniak who out do the young guns regularly). The other reason is Youth in the form of new ideas and rejuvenation the Party needs to change the Liberal Party and to change Canada.

But here the first point is of interest here. The Liberal Party recognizes the importance of Youth, giving them the opportunities to reshape the Liberal Party and to keep it current. In fact on the YLC homepage it states you don't even have to agree with the Party in fact they promote difference of opinion; that's how the Liberal Party can change with the times. That is the importance of Youth, to have the Liberal Party in touch with the present so it can continue into the future.

Because the youth are our future, it seems important for Leadership candidates to address Youth concerns. However out of the eight rmaining candidates only two think the youth of the Liberal Party are worth addressing specifically and providing a website to accommodate they're diverse opinions. Those candidates are Gerard Kennedy and Michael Ignatieff. In my book the only two candidates who have demonstrated a desire to represent all interests.

Gerard Kennedy was the first to have a site specifically for youth, at Generation Kennedy, he was followed by Michael Ignatieff with Iggy Nation. I support visiting both sites to see the differences. I won't explicitly say which is better, but I do think Kennedy's is actually more youth oriented as opposed to Ignatieff's that seems less organic.

Either way both candidates are models of how a Leader should be. He should focus on the present and think of the future. Bob Rae has no real youth wing; a Bob Rae youth delegate is motivated either by a chance of power or is easily influenced.

Stephane Dion has an extremely vehement youth wing, indeed Kennedy's and Dion's are the largest youth wings of the campaign. The question is where are they in Dion's view? I take the position of putting your money where your mouth is. A candidate can say he is for the youth and rejuvenation, but if he ignores your interests or subjecates you to a lower recess, is he really?

There is a youth for volpe site, but it is in poor taste, I'll leave you to find that on your own.

In all this, it is pretty clear what candidates recognize the importance of youth, the future of the Liberal Party, and which candidate should be leader of the Liberal Party.


Anonymous Steve said...

The exception of course is Rae...

4:05 PM  
Blogger H. Cowen said...

Great post, Kennedy does rely a lot on his youth, see the snazzy american apparel fitted pink girls shirt I'm donning on my latest post..its Generation stylin'

Here's hoping the stress will mostly be over after the DEMs. Then its fundraising party planning time!

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Mike Smith said...

The Dion youth are very integral to their campaign. Dion has made a special effort to reach out to youth and the blogging community as well. Denise Brunsdon is an inspiring National Youth Director, and the Dion youth team out in BC (where I live) is welcoming of everyone. Dion stands for what youth are yearning for: a politician who says it like it is, doesn't worry about pollsters or spindoctors, fights for our environment, and stood up to the separatists in Quebec. He is someone all young people can be proud of.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Cerberus said...

Hard to disagree with a post like this. Nice one. The future is right here folks, come and look around!

(Small quibble: a few youth wings of the party have had very informal straw polls and Kennedy and Iggy consistently top the others by quite a bit.)

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob Rae does have a youth movement.

It's called Generation Kennedy.

Why would Bob go through the trouble when Kennedy is going to hand it all over to him in the end?

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHA mr. anonymous1,

nottt exactly.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Matt Campbell said...

Well said. I've been trying to nail this point home for the last few weeks. The only candidates who have a shot at this leadership are the ones who have the youth support. You're right, 33% of elected delegates are youth, and as such, they will likely be the ones making the final decision.

That said, the number is watered down a bit when you include the ex-officio numbers, but it is still statistically significant.

Bob Rae won't win this leadership. Ignatieff has huge youth support, and Kennedy has support amongst youth as well. However, I don't think Kennedy will see the final ballot (largely due to organizational problems.)

So, it will be interesting to see how things pan out.


11:29 PM  
Blogger robedger said...

Dion brought out a youth platform which is unparalleled, and to my knowledge, youth have played a more active role in his campaign than any other.

I think that you may have been distracted by the sizzle (websites) and forgot about the steak (policies and meaninful involvement).

11:32 AM  
Blogger Jason Cherniak said...

I'm disappointed in the obviously partisan nature of this. You think the fact that Iggy and Kennedy have separate youth sites is more important than Dion's 10-point plan ( to help youth across the country and within the party specifically? If you prefer fluff to substance, then so be it.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Denise B said...

I would make the point that "perception" of who is winning the war of the youth campaigns is often quite misleading for the simple fact that the most involved and active YLCers make up a small part of the actual 33%.

Too often we mistake the youth camp "winner" for the one with the largest support amongst campus clubs, but with many less clubs than in previous years, these youth will be far outnumbered by riding youth, many of whom are new and not as integrated with the commission itself.

I think the campaign with the best youth will be the one to do the best job finding the new youth at convention, supporters or not, and keeping them in the party and the YLC specifically after leadership. The camp with the least attrition and largest long-term contribution to the party will be, in my mind, the winner.

Just something I've noticed about leadership, both this one and last.
Thanks to Mr. Smith for his kind words =)

11:47 AM  
Blogger Daniel Mosely said...

rob & Cherniak: In my post I made the claim that reality trumps theory. Dion did put forth a 10-point policy, I'm not denying if that platform was implemented it would show Dion's dedication to the youth. But right now that only has predictive value. Right now does it have any value? No. It's a campaign promise.

Compared to Ignatieff and Kennedy, they have campaign promises to the youth of the Party as well, but they have, right now, dedicated resources specifically directed to youth. Can you honestly say Dion is on the same level in dedication to youth then Ignatieff and Kennedy without heavily depending on a campaign promise that is post-dated?

Cherniak: Partisan? Really? Do you think I'm proposing some sort of Dual-leader hybriad of Kennedy and Ignatieff? I know we'll call him "Kiggy" or "Iggneddy." I am being honest. I bit the bullet and faced the reality of Ignatieff's perspective on youth that he has shown real practical evidence of.

Denise: My emphasis was directed to the importance of Youth in the future of the Party. Thus those candidates that best try to represent their innovative ideas will be the best for the Party.

12:39 PM  

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