Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Renewal and activity in the commissions a great sign for Liberal rebuilding

Blogging has been light of late, although I've been keeping very active in Liberal events, obviously. In particular, in the last couple of weeks I've been to events involving the Young Liberals, the Aboriginal Peoples' Commission, and the Women's Commission here in Ottawa, and they all speak to the fact that our commissions are playing a crucial role in the renewal of the Liberal Party and the Liberal brand.

I attended a great Young Liberal organized event in Ottawa, the Ottawa Centre/Ottawa-Vanier Young Liberal Bonanza. It was great to hear from Mauril Belanger and Yasir Naqvi how important Young Liberals are to the Liberal Party, particularly Yasir Naqvi talking about how the single biggest commitment the Ontario Liberal Party made in the last election was the 30% off tuition grant, and how this idea came straight from Young Liberals. Another remarkable thing was to see so many new faces I hadn't met before, showing that youth are interested in playing a proactive role in politics and are attracted to the Liberal message.

International Womens' Day saw two events, a breakfast organized by the Women's Commission, and the launch event of Beyond the Numbers, a great idea put forward by the YLC and VP Maddie Webb in particular to increase the role of young women in the YLC and the Liberal Party as a whole. The breakfast was very well attended, with MP's and guest speakers from around the country coming in, such as new Commission president Mary Pyenburg. Bob Rae spoke passionately about the need for the Liberal Party to not only go after the Conservatives backwards approach on women's issues, but to always look at the Liberal Party itself and see what more we can do to advance women's rights and make our party even better. The Beyond the Numbers event had dozens of Young Liberals get together, including many from out of town, to network, talk about young women in the party, and be inspired by a touching speech from Kirsty Duncan about her journey into politics.

Last but not least, I helped support our Aboriginal Peoples' Commission by going to the "10-for-10" fundraiser, part of a campaign to create an endowment fund for aboriginal candidates ($10,000 for 10 candidates, as a starting goal) in the next election. Sen. Lillian Dyck, Bob Rae, Carolyn Bennett, and Jeff Copenace all talked about the role of the Liberal Party as promoting understanding between all the peoples of Canada, educating non-aboriginals about aboriginal history, and the important task of recruiting strong aboriginal candidates to run in both rural and urban ridings in the next election.

All in all, a series of great events that leave me inspired and optimistic about the role our party commissions can play in the party renewal process. Now to paint Toronto-Danforth red for Grant Gordon!