This past weekend, I attended the annual YC Conference in St. John’s. For those unfamiliar, it’s a conference for young people of Newfoundland and Labrador where they can join with a few thousand other youth of like-minded faith, and deal with spiritual things from a teenager’s perspective. (This, we all know, is 180 degrees from mine and your perspective nine times out of 10)
Usually, every year the conference is addressed by someone from the Provincial Government on the first night. When Danny was Premier, he showed up three years in a row, of course, to major applause by those in attendance at the time. Last year, since the election was on, even though he wasn’t in politics anymore, Danny showed up again and talked to the kids about Leadership. It showed he cared about the people in the stadium on a personal level, not just a political one. Dunderdale made a campaign stop to close out the conference two days later on Sunday, where she gave a rousing speech straight from her communications person. Too bad someone forgot to tell her that no one in the room could vote yet.
This year, I was wondering who we’d hear from. Was Kathy going to swing by and actually try to be relatable and charismatic? Or was she bringing back her podium and speaking notes again? Either way, I wasn’t going to find out.
Friday night of this year’s event, when the time came for the greetings to be brought, out walked Paul Davis, Minister of Service NL. For the record, he too had speaking notes and a podium, but I digress.
Dunderdale, as we know, was in Gander at the MNL conference. Understandable – she was previously engaged in something.
“But,” I said to myself, “why in the world would she send Paul Davis?”
Then I got to thinking. Well, with that said, who else would she send? It’s a Youth Convention – it’s not like there’s a minister of Youth in the Government.
“Although,” says I, “maybe there should be.”
Now think about it for a second. I know what some of you are going to say: “yes there is – Child Youth and Family Services – its right in the title!” I don’t think what I had in mind falls under that portfolio. I’m talking about someone whose sole mission is to see to it that young people have what they need, when they need it, and know how to use it once they get it.
I’m talking about a Minister in the Government who works just for the youth of our province – to address their needs, their concerns and their futures. Because, afterall, isn’t their future, just our future? Aren’t these the people running the show when we get too old to do it?
Youth of the day are faced with so much that they need help with. Of course the portfolio would be combined with Education, and designed to serve a broader scope of needs like youth healthcare, youth programs, youth benefits, youth infrastructure, youth transportation, youth services, etc. The minister would also handle needs and concerns that only the youth of the province have – like whether or not there’s going to be a Newfoundland and Labrador around in 20 years for them to call home.
This Minister would be someone they can call their own and not have to rely on someone else to bring their concerns to the table. Afterall – if we want to know what people need, isn’t asking them the best way to find out?
I’m all for creating the office for Minister of Youth Needs and Concerns, but I highly doubt it’ll ever happen – mostly for the sole reason I mentioned above, that Kathy failed to realize, and might be the real reason she didn’t show up at YC this year.
Youth don’t vote.
– Rudy Norman