I remember Monday, May 2 2011 very well. That election was the first time I had volunteered for a political campaign, the first time I took an extremely active interest in politics, and the first time I really began to understand the power of the electorate. I remember my disappointment, my feeling of uncertainty, even my fear. I was a firm believer in the Liberal vision for Canada, and I was disappointed because I felt that Canada was going in a direction politically that opposed that vision.
Beyond that night, I remember even more clearly the hope, courage and spirit that I have seen since then from all aspects of the Liberal Party of Canada. The pride we felt while welcoming Justin Trudeau as our new leader, the revitalization of our voter outreach, the strengthening of our networks, and, above all, the re-centralization of our energies on advocating for a Liberal Canada.
To me, 2015 is an opportunity for my party to give Canadians a newly unified and revitalized chance at the Liberal dream… but what exactly is that? The Liberal Party is rebuilding, and as it does so, it promises to retain the very principles that attracted me to it in the first place: balancing fiscal responsibility with social justice and government support. My party is the party of universal healthcare, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, multiculturalism and the environment. I believe that Canada is a naturally Liberal country, and in order to succeed in the 2015 federal election, we must show Canadians that we have learnt from the past and are ready to rise to the occasion.
Justin Trudeau has been doing a fantastic job of this thus far. His strong presence in the house, his fearlessness in his challenging the Conservative party in regards to their failure to lead the country in a truly Canadian direction (or, some would argue, to lead at all) is admirable, and his refusal to resort to smear tactics to win is valiant.
Behind Trudeau there is a whole new generation of Liberal thinkers that must become engaged in order to help us succeed. As I said, 2011 was my first campaign, and now, just over two years later, I feel I have a place within my party. The Liberal Party is the party of the youth: not just in policies and outlook, but also in membership and potential membership. I personally believe that youth are the key to success in this election, and voter engagement, policy debates, and overall openness and approachability are key components of this.
In short, if you are reading this today and are as passionate about the Liberal Party and their vision as I am, do not hesitate to get involved. As Andy Warhol said, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” The party has made a decisive change; will Canadians react to this positively? Will youth understand their political potential? Only time will tell.