Friday, May 01, 2009

Live from the YLC Biennial

9:15 am: Hello from Vancouver, I've fired up the netbook, connected to the WiFi and I'm going to try a little live-blogging from the Young Liberals of Canada biennial. It's a packed room with little elbow room, so we'll see if I can manage to do some typing without annoying my neighbours too much.

And I just got kicked out of my chair, they're taking some chairs out to make more standing-room as we're expecting an even bigger crowd with the imminent arrival of Michael Ignatieff, and also a possible Paul Martin appearance.

We've just had the YLC executive candidate speeches, most of which wee acclaimed. But as I've blogged previously there is a good race for president between Sam Lavoie and John Lennard. At this point I'll admit I'm pulling for John. Sam looks to have a lot of backing from the YL establishment types, but John I'm hoping has the members-at-large on his side.

John gave a helluva speech, with a lot of fire and passion about the youth no longer being junior partners in the party, but making sure their voice is heard through hard work, determination, and a doubling of the membership. It really galvanized the room, and I think earned him some support. I got some video of both speeches, I'll post them later.

9:25 am: Meeting chairs desperately trying to move the crowd away from the door to make way for Michael Ignatieff, who is due in the room in about 15 minutes. He's speaking to the Aboriginal Peoples Commission curently.

9:30am: Meeting chairs trying to stall and keep the crowd entertained while we wait for Michael.

9:40am: And Michael enters the room to a loud standing ovation and chants of Michael, Michael! He says mondieux, what a welcome that warms his heart. He's impressed by the turnout for the conventionm more people than we expected, and he says the feeling is similar to him to the 1968 convention that elected Pierre Trudeau as our leader, a convention where he was 21 that he'll never forget. It was the first time in his life that he felt as a young person that he wasn't a bystander but that he was there, in a small way, helping make the history of Canada, and that's what the Liberal Party is all about.

But he can't do it without us. It's no coronation, there's no robe of office, it's about the members and its about the team. It is not me that makes you possible, he says, its you that makes me possible.

9:45am:Bbecause we represent every corner of the country, because we're anchored on the lives of the people of this county, we're fit to lead and govern this country.

Ome member one vote is extremly important, we've got to get this through. He wants every member with that red card in their wallet to be able to say I joined the LPC so I, not a delegate, can choose the next leader of our party. We can't be a party of change without change ourselves, and this OMOV is crucial to the future of our party, crucial to our ability to say to people join us and tell them you, not a delegate, can choose the leader of this party.

And so, if your leader can make one request of you, I can't demand but I can request, I can pasionately ask that you pass this OMOV.

We' ve been through the rain, we've been through the snow, look at this sunshine! He finishes to applause. Geat speach by Michael, and great to see him pushing hard on OMOV. He was silent, however, in the YLC quota ammendment.

And he ends by donning a Canucks jersey with Ignatieff on the back. Sweet, wish I'd gotten a pic or video but I'm sure many others did.

9:50am: Room clears out a little with Michael gone and now Navdeep Bains, Liberal MP and youth caucus liason, is speaking to the YLC delegates. Nav also talks about OMOV, sidestepping the quota issue but supporting OMOV itself. Nav also gives a shout-out to Adam Miron, a great guy and the outgoing YLC national director. Adam has also been crucial with blogger outreach. He's retiring from the position and will be replaced by Keith Torrie, a great Young Liberal who is no stranger to blogging as well.

9:53am: Adam Miorn thanks everyone for all their support and brings up Keith Torrie to say hello to the crowd. He promises eveyone he'll work had for them and with them, a lot of exciting things coming up in the next little while and a lot of energy and momentum coming out of this convention. Keith brings up outgoing YLC president Corey Pike.

9:55am: Its been a grueling few days but Corey thinks he has run a successful campaign for past-pesident. He thinks it says a lot about our country that a guy like him can come from a small community in Newfiundland and a non-political family to become the president of a national youth organizaton.

People like to say the youth are the future, but in the Liberal Party the youth are now, we're leading now and we're changing Canada now. He lauds the diversity in the room: that's Canada. Canada is ready to be bigger than it is, and take on that next great national challenge. And the YLs are ready to help.

10:00am: Paul Martin is next after a five minute break.

10:08am: I just shot a quick video with LPC executive director Rocco Rossi on why we need to pass OMOV. I'll head back to the blogger room to get that online after Paul Martin speaks to the youth. Paul has always been very supportive of the youth, and they of him, so it should be a good one.

10:34am: Still waiting on Paul, I hope he comes before the battery on my netbook dies. I'd also like to video the speech, but its hard to liveblog and video at the same time. I may tape it, and then add my comments to the blog right after.

10:40am: Justin Trudeau in the house, posing for many photos. I'm assured Paul is less than five minutes away.

10:43am: Paul is here. CPAC is blocking my shot so no video. It's a joint address to both the Aboriginal People's Commission and the YLC.

Paul says in his career he has always relied on the Young Liberals, and m'any of the strong friendships he has forged in the party were with people who were Young Liberals, although they don't look so young today.

Speaking of the past, he said early settlers told out First Nations that we were right and they were wrong in ways of doing things, and if you're told that enough it seeps your spitit. But throughout history they have refused to accept that, to work with the newcomers to forge a future that adapts the best of the new says while maintaining their identity. Still, after confederation, the push to assimilate was there. It took awhile to get better.

It wasn't until the 1950s that a status Indian could go to university. Brian Mulroney's royal commission was important, as was Jean Chretien' healing commission. Then the Liberal government started the process leading to the residential schools apology. It didn't matter who was in power, the GOVERMENT OF CANADA apologized.

But how a government can apologize for the residetial schools and then reneg on the Kelowna Accord is beyond him. It was a monumental accord between the feds, prov and native groups that made promises, set goals and targets, and really moved beyond assimilation to a partnership. But the Conservatives said no,w e're going back to a policy that has failed for 500 years, we're going to assimilate. But Canada is not going to accept that.

This is a moral and ethical question for Paul. But it's also an economic question. We're 33 million people in a competition with 400m Americans and 1B Chineese. Young Aboriginals are the youngest and fastest growing segment of our popultion, and we can't afford to waste one iota of talent if we're going to compete.

10:52am: 50% of aboriginals ae under the age of 25. That would make a heckuva YL club. There's now an oppotunity as never before for the APC to come together with the YLC to pick up that challenge, to make this country better, and harness the incredible contribution our young aboriginals can make if they're only given the chance.

On-reserve schooling needs to be improved. The stories about monbey being wasted by aboriginal bands just aren't true. They're given less for education and less for health care per capita than provincial schools and medical centres.

Paul challenges the YL to work with the APC and pick up this challenge. Michael Ignatieff is going to win the next election, and Kelowna is going to come back, but it's not enough. We're all now Canadians, let's respect our diversity and traditions, and there's no one to better do that then the YLC.

And I'll signoff on life blogging from here, back to the blogger room to do some video.

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Tania said...

Ignatieff was late as he stopped by the APC during former PM Martin's address to the APC.

Glen said...

Loving the updates (except about the nucks jersey); please keep it coming!

Pearce said...

Which jersey was it? The one with the Orca on it, or the vintage one? I'd give him +5 cool points for showing up to the YLC in vintage gear... Thus raising him to 5 cool points...

I'm loving the coverage, keep it up! I'll be at the convention tomorrow around 2:30 ;)