Little Fish in a Giant pond

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Eastern Regional Policy Parliament 2007 - a major success!!!

This past weekend was an important one for the UOYL and the Ottawa-Vanier Young Liberals, because on Saturday March 31st we played co-hosts to the 2007 Eastern Regional Policy Parliament. This was my second policy parliament as policy director of the UOYL, and my first time as part of the organizing team and I am pleased to say that it went off without a hitch!

The ERPP began with an interesting foreword from Ottawa-Vanier MP Mauril Bélanger. Naturally, he was his usual well-spoken self with much to say about the importance of engaging the grass roots of this party!

About midway through the day's activities we received a visit from local MPP and member of cabinet, Jim Watson. Mr. Watson had lots to say about the encouraging physical activity for youth.

Perhaps the most impassioned speaker of the afternoon was Ottawa-South MP David McGuinty, who gave made a strong argument as to just how imperative it is that Canada does something to address the issue of climate change... Al Gore would be proud!

We also had the privilege of welcoming Ottawa city councilor Clive Doucet who added some very interesting supplements to Mr. McGuinty's speech, and also gave a very well thought out talk on urban expansion.

Of course the real point of the meeting was for young liberal from across the Easter Region of the province to come together and discuss policies! I am pleased to report that we had members visit us from as far away as Queen's University and Kingston and the Islands. We got the chance to discuss such important issues as Canada's military presence in Afghanistan, designating certain zones of Ontario as bilingual, and the need to fight against the HPV virus. Ultimately, the group decided to send the two following policies to the Ontario Young Liberals Summer Fling. We hope they are adopted!

Ottawa-Vanier Young Liberal Association Policy on Skilled Labour Training in Secondary School

Whereas it has become difficult to fill necessary posts within the demands for skilled labour in Canada, but especially within the manufacturing heartland of Ontario...

Whereas the economic and academic demands of the 21st Century have led young people to attend College or University programs rather than pursue a career in manufacturing or the skilled trades...

Whereas secondary school institutions do not encourage the pursuit of skilled trades on the same level of College or University attendance...

Whereas training for these careers is, oftentimes, expensive, and time consuming; without, necessarily, obvious rewards or incentives...

Be it resolved that the Liberal Party of Ontario, in an effort to incorporate the teaching of skilled trades into the realm of secondary education, teach introductory courses in a wide array of the skilled trades, hiring millwrights or other skilled persons with adequate College level instruction training in a variety of skilled occupations to serve as instructors; beginning in Grade 11 of secondary school and continuing into Grade 12...

Be it resolved that these ‘classes’ serve the same introductory and preparedness role as University, College, and/or Workplace level academic courses serve in Grade 11 and 12...

Be it further resolved that this will allow an alternative to University or College education, while allowing students with the talents of practical application or skilled labour to begin training at an earlier age; thereby establishing themselves as more qualified to re-commence and/or complete their skilled labour training afterwards at a reduced financial cost and shorter formal training period, as a result of the incorporation of their secondary school introduction to the skilled trade of their choice.

University of Ottawa Young Liberals’ Policy on Addiction Rehabilitation Programs
Whereas Canada does not offer high quality public addiction rehabilitation centres,
Whereas the addiction rehabilitation centres that do exist are of poor quality and have waiting time that are much too long,
Whereas there are an insufficient number of aftercare or counselling programs available to people who have just been through any addiction rehabilitation program,
Whereas people who complete their session at an addiction rehabilitation centre are left on their own to find support programs and counsellors so that they can follow a healthy lifestyle;
Be it resolved that the Liberal Party of Canada and the Ontario Liberal Party urge the federal and provincial governments to provide sufficient funding to improve the quality of addiction rehabilitation program’s infrastructure and availability,
Be it further resolved that the Liberal Party of Canada and the Ontario Liberal Party urge the federal and provincial governments to improve post-addiction rehabilitation counselling services,
Be it further resolved that the Liberal Party of Canada and the Ontario Liberal Party encourage all parties involved to cooperate in order to establish linkages to reinforce a national association of addiction rehabilitation professionals to establish national standards for care,
Be it further resolved that the Liberal Party of Canada and the Ontario Liberal Party encourage all parties involved to act to improve the awareness of the existence of addiction rehabilitation programs,
And be it further resolved that the Liberal Party of Canada and the Ontario Liberal Party encourage all parties involved to foster linkages between short and long term addiction rehabilitation facilities.
One final side note...
One more little announcement, on Thursday March 29th, I had the privilege of representing the UOYL alongside our executive vice president Patrick Kilfoil in an all-party debate that was organized by PIDSSA (formerly the PSSA - Political Science Student Association). I am equally pleased to report that together with our Green Party and NDP counterparts we thoroughly embarrassed the conservatives! Unfortunately I can't take much of the credit for this, as the conservatives did most of the work themselves.


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