Minister discusses how to drive youth engagement

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A group photo of several students with the Minister, everyone smiling.
A politician paid attention to some common people...must be an election somewhere... via @ ylc.saskatchewan

Social media outreach and face-to-face conversations recommended as change-making approaches

The minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, The Honourable François-Philippe 

Champagne visited Saskatchewan on government business last week. One of the events in his 

agenda during the visit included meeting with some members of the organization Young Liberals of Canda (YLC).  

The YLC is a political organization that represents the youth wing of the Liberal Party of Canada in Saskatchewan. The minister in his conversation with the members of YLC sought insights on how to get more young people interested and involved in politics. 

The event was organized by the president of YLC, Rahima Mian, and took place at Delta Hotels by Marriott Regina on January 17. “The event with Minister Champagne was very last-minute. When he was informed that the youth of Saskatchewan would like to meet him, he was very excited and really wanted to meet us and made time although he had a very tight schedule,” said Mian.  

In his hour-long conversation with seven members of the club, Minister Champagne discussed on a range of subjects revolving around the core issue of how politics is viewed by the younger generation. The members of YLC got the opportunity to talk about what they think are the reasons why an increasing number of young people are seemingly moving away from politics. They also got to make suggestions as to what steps the government can take to address this issue. 

Members had excellent insights to offer on both why the problem might exist and what can possibly be done to resolve it. The members agreed unanimously that there exists a wall between the government and the people, and that the youth largely believes that the government does not care about their general well-being. They mentioned that the government is seen as an entity above people rather than an agency for people.  

The reason for this, as per the YLC members, is a spread of misinformation and a lack of communication. Social media platforms were suggested as primary tools that can be used to increase engagement by a majority of members given their increased use by the younger generation. Some members also suggested more opportunities such as these where young people can talk to government representatives in person, and have a platform for open and direct conversations. The Minister appeared to be very receptive of the concerns and suggestions and made plans to have more formal events like these. 

Mian, who is also a final-year Political Science student at the University of Regina, believes it is imperative for young people to know and talk about subjects that have a direct impact on their futures. “Making it a more inclusive club and making politics more inclusive and less intimidating for everyone, especially the young people, was the whole point of starting this club,” said Mian.  

“I am not saying join my club. Join any political club, there are many on the U of R campus itself. But I really encourage young people to learn and educate themselves about politics by any means they deem fit, because no one is unaffected by it,” she added.  

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