What an election, huh? Quebec went from light blue to orange, Ontario went from red to dark blue and British Columbia now has a shade of green. If I were a religious man I’d say it’s a sign of the apocalypse. The Conservative Majority aside though, the biggest surprise was obviously Quebec’s orange crush. I thought the NDP would do well, but going from 1 to 59 seats is unheard of.
How did they do it? Well, for starters, voters aged 18 24 voted more for the NDP in every province except Alberta, and they did so without the NDP even really appealing to that age group. As for La Belle Province, Quebecers have a low tolerance for B.S., and virtually every protest vote joined the orange wave. When a region overwhelmingly votes in protest however, MPs who aren’t bilingual, who didn’t campaign and who have never been to their riding end up getting elected. That’s just the way it is. It’s better to have a nobody than to actually have nobody.
The NDP managed to elect 103 MPs to Parliament on May 2nd; 20 of those MPs are under the age of thirty, and most are from Quebec. One of those is even under twenty, 19-year-old Pierre-Luc Dusseault, a student of applied politics who now becomes the youngest Member of Parliament in Canadian history. He not only voted for the first time, but got elected for the first time! The Quebec NDP youth brigade also includes four students from McGill, and of course the more publicized (and scorned) Ruth Ellen Brosseau.
Since Election Day, the Layton Youth have been getting a bad rap in the media and by colleagues of mine, and without so much as an hour’s work under their belt. Now that these kids are in the public eye, some say, such criticism is fair game and all part of the job. They could have a point. What’s pointless, however, is to scrutinize someone simply for their age, when the the fact remains we don’t yet know what these newbies are even capable of. After all, as Mr. Layton said, “We send our youngsters to Afghanistan, why not Parliament?”
I’m of the opinion that these young MPs are going to work far harder than the average 56-year-old Member of Parliament who’s been at it for twenty or thirty years. They’re young, ambitious and have a lot to prove, but more importantly, they have more to lose. They are more aware than anyone that it will be a lot harder to get re-elected four years from now.
These new NDP MPs might be inexperienced, but they deserve the benefit of the doubt; one of them just might be our Prime Minister one day. Either way, what an opportunity to prove themselves in front of the whole country at such a young age. Personally, I’m jealous.
Good luck boys and girls!
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