Brome-Missisquoi MP Pascale St-Onge giving youth a voice in Ottawa

By Taylor McClure – Special to Brome County News

Pascale St-Onge, newly-minted MP for Brome-Missisquoi, and her team are on the lookout for youth between 15 and 30 in the Brome-Missisquoi riding to join their Constituency Youth Council. The Youth Council meetings will take place starting in Dec. until June and it will provide a platform for participants to express their concerns on issues that matter most to them.

“When we approached MP St-Onge with this proposition, she immediately said yes,” said Kimberly Luce, campaign manager. “We want to hear from the youth, exchange with them, and hear their ideas to best represent them because they are a part of the citizens here and we think they can bring a lot to the table.”
“Very often they don’t have as many opportunities to speak their mind. For example, in the riding I get to meet with business owners, I get to meet with volunteers, mayors, but a direct conversation with younger people that are our future it doesn’t happen that often,” said St-Onge. “It’s important for me to get their thoughts, input, and criticism.”

St-Onge said that her team wants to provide a platform that will allow citizens to step foot in the world of politics and give them a voice at the federal table in Ottawa. “It’s a chance to learn what it’s like inside politics, what we can do, what we are doing, and how they can help us improve our ideas and make sure what we want to do fits with the young people in Quebec and Brome-Missisquoi. It is great for all parties.”

Four meetings will take from December to June 2022 that will be focused on the interests of the group. “Something that I would like to do, for example, if they are interested in the environment, I would ask my colleague to join in on the meetings and chat directly with participants or have other colleagues come in to talk about prevention of gun violence. Anything they are interested in, I would like to have colleagues join and talk with the group.”

Special projects and activities can also be organized. “If ever they are interested in doing a volunteer activity like helping out for community dinners or a soup kitchen that is something we can also organize. We can think about projects we can do for the community, it’s a great way to get involved,” added St-Onge. There are certain requirements when applying to be a part of the Youth Council. “They can apply if they are between 15 to 30 years old, it’s quite a wide range,” explained Luce. “It’s important to hear from them and what they have to say. They have to be from the riding, that is very important for us since every liberal MP basically has their own youth council, and they have to be available for the four meetings that will start in Jan. to the month of June.”

St-Onge’s team has high hopes for the new council. “We want them to learn more about the federal government and what the MP does. A lot of people don’t concretely know what they do here in the region and we want to develop links and a strong relationship with groups of citizens in the riding, but youth are the future, so it’s super important to include them. Once the year finishes, we want to stay in touch and to stay connected,” said Luce.

“Democracy is something that constantly needs to be renewed and sometimes younger people don’t have as much faith in our system. It’s a great way to reconnect with our institutions, to have a conversation, to get to know each other, and to make sure that there are young people in politics, institutions, and democracy, to ensure that it lives on after us,” St-Onge emphasized.

The deadline to apply for the Constituency Youth Council is Dec. 10 at the link below.

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