Thursday, November 30, 2006

Gerard Kennedy Rocks The YLC Biennial Meeting

Today has been fantastic at the convention. Braeden Caley, Gerard Kennedy BC Youth Co-chair was honoured with Young Liberal of the Year. Politics aside, well leadership politics aside, there is no other Young Liberal more deserving of this award. Braeden has spent years campaigning harder then some candidates. Congratulations Braeden.

Back into the Convention, today began with the theatre we all know as the Leadership Race on the stage of the YLC Biennial Meeting. It began with each campaign sneaking off from the meeting to get prepared to escort their candidate in with the standard hype.

With each candidate on stage, they went into two minute speeches, followed by questions by the youth. The first question concerned immigration; but it was the second that really differentiated the candidates.

Braeden Caley asked, with a camara in his face, "Do you support continueing the mission in Afghanistan up until 2009 and beyond? Yes or No?" Bob Rae was the first respondent, his answer was that he was not obligated because he never voted on it. My question would be, "Is that a yes or a no?" Rae continued that Canada must not forget one of the three "D's," that is development.

Michael Ignatieff answered that we must utilize the three D's, emphasizing development, as he had forgotten what the other two stand for. Overall though Michael showed leniancy in his position, and hinted that 2009 is not written in stone.

Stephane Dion was not clear, he referenced imposing a Marshall Plan-like system on Afghanistan. My question to this is, "How can such a plan be implemented when the country is on the brink of civil war?" But again, Dion had pluses, as he too was hinting at some form of early withdrawal, once a strong civil society has been formed.

The next candidate was Gerard Kennedy. As soon as Gerard began talking, the atmosphere in the room changed. Previous candidates had been speaking as if they were having a conversation with a fellow Liberal; Gerard Kennedy spoke as if he really wants to be leader, he's hungry for it.

His voice booming in the full convention hall, his answer was direct, a simple response stating he was not in favour of remaining in Afghanistan unless NATO reassess's and changes towards a far more effective mandate. Attacking Stephen Harper, and his ignoring of social development, the whole room burst into applause and cheers. Up until tat moment, applause for candidates during speeches was along partisan lines; Gerard was the candidate that inspired crossing over those imaginary borders, and united the room in a common sentiment.

It was in this regard, today was a great day. Braeden Caley, of the blog of the same name and a prominent Young Liberal, was awarded Young Liberal of the Year and Gerard Kennedy garnered YLC excitement unlike any other candidate.


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