Citizen Action Monitor

Youth-driven organization aims to change the face of federal politics in Canada

No 129 Posted by fw, March 5, 2011

Jamie Biggar and Adam Shedletzky. Remember their names. This dynamic duo, along with a multi-partisan network of volunteers and advisers with a wide range of passions and expertise, are inviting Canadians across our land to “break out of a divisive and uninspiring era” to create an inter-generational Declaration for Change.

Towards this end, they have created leadnow.ca to “bring generations of Canadians together to take action for our future and hold politicians accountable.”

Here’s Jamie Biggar to talk about Leadnow in this 5-minute video interview —

Paraphrasing and quoting selected key points that Jamie made in response to the interviewer’s questions —

Question: What does leadnow.ca hope to accomplish?

Our goal is to create a new way for Canadians to come together online to talk about their shared hopes and priorities for the country in order to create a really strong voice that’s going to be heard in Ottawa

Question: How will you do that?

What we’re working on right now is to launch a campaign, a process to create Declaration for Change that will call for federal politicians to cooperate for progress on some key challenges identified by Canadians across the country in a process that’s both online through social media. There will also be a cross-country event next week called (Re)Generation. We have 50 events already signed up across the country in every province on campuses and coffee shops. We’ll turn that into a Declaration for Change using online voting. After that we’ll ask Canadians to commit to back the Declaration with their commitment to vote for the politicians whom they think will rise to the challenge. To learn more about the cross-country (Re)Generation events and find out how you can participate, go to the (Re)Generation Events page on its website.

Question: Is the youth voice heard right now in the established political parties?

There’s a vicious circle. Politicians know that youth are under-represented at the polls so they target their pitches to older voters, which, in turn, causes youth to tune out. Youth feel increasingly alienated and the parties don’t feel they get much out of talking to youth. We see our role as providing a way for youth to come together to make sure their voices are heard in Ottawa. We’re a youth-founded organization but our goal is to bring generations of Canadians together. We’re excited about the idea of inter-generational partnership.

Question: Can social networking media overcome voter apathy?

Organizations need to go where people are. Younger people who could be voting are spending their time on social media. It’s not just a matter of social media or online or offline, it’s about approach. Younger people want to be heard, they want to be part of decision making. They feel like they should have a voice at the table. Part of what online processes allow us to do is to allow more and more people to be part of creating decisions together. And that’s what this collaborative process in creating the Declaration for Change is all about. To participate online in leadnow.ca’s campaign process, visit leadnow’s Facebook page.

Question: Are you politically non-partisan?

I wouldn’t say that we’re happy with this government. We have a strong critique of the current political system for being too divisive and too focused on short-term, narrow issues. We do have a perspective but at the same time, we’re not backing any particular political party. What we’re really interested in is building consensus for progress on some of the major challenges that are facing this country.

RELATED READING

Leadnow.ca Change to federal politics is going to come from outside Ottawa by Jamie Biggar and Adam Shedletzky. Rabble.ca, March 3, 2011

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog, Citizen Action Monitor, may contain copyrighted material that may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material, published without profit, is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues. It is published in accordance with the provisions of the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada ruling and its six principle criteria for evaluating fair dealing.

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