Transcript: Youth at the Ballot Box | Aug 20, 2018

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a gray blazer over a purple shirt.

A caption on screen reads "Youth at the ballot box. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

A says LAST YEAR, THE OXFORD ENGLISH
DICTIONARY'S WORD OF THE YEAR
WAS "YOUTHQUAKE."
CITING A SURGE IN TURNOUT
AMONGST YOUNGER VOTERS IN THE
U.K. AND NEW ZEALAND ELECTIONS,
THE WORD CAPTURES THE GROWING
IMPORTANCE OF YOUNG VOICES AND
THE POLITICS OF THOSE COUNTRIES.
JOINING US FOR THEIR VIEW ON
YOUTH ENGAGEMENT HERE IN ADVANCE
OF ONTARIO'S MUNICIPAL
ELECTIONS: EDNA ALI, EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR OF THE NONPARTISAN
ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION,
THE TORONTO YOUTH CABINET...

Edna is in her thirties. She's wearing glasses, a black headscarf, gray pinstripe jacket, and black sweater.

A says AND TAMER IBRAHIM, YOUTH COLLECTIVE
IMPACT MANAGER AT LAIDLAW FOUNDATION.
WELCOME TO YOU BOTH.

Tamer is in his late thirties, with short, curly gray hair and a scruffy beard. He's wearing a gray suit and spotted gray shirt.

Nam says AND IT'S YOUR FIRST TIME BEING ON TV, RIGHT?

Edna says YEAH.

Tamer says IT IS.

Nam says IT'S AWESOME TO HAVE YOU HERE ON
THE AGENDA TO TALK MORE ABOUT
YOUR ORGANIZATIONS.
EDNA, LET'S START WITH YOU.
WHAT PROJECTS DO THE TORONTO
YOUTH CABINET WORK ON?

The caption changes to "Edna Ali. Toronto Youth Cabinet."
Then, it changes again to "Participating on voting day."

Nam says SO WE ARE THE CITY OF TORONTO'S
OFFICIAL YOUTH ADVISORY BODY AS
WELL AS AN ADVOCACY BODY SO OUR
WORK IS CENTRED AROUND ENSURING
THAT TORONTO IS YOUTH-CENTRED,
YOUTH-FRIENDLY, ACCESSIBLE,
AND EQUITABLE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE,
SO THE WORK THAT WE DO IS SPLIT
UP IN DIFFERENT WORKING GROUPS,
SO WE HAVE TEAMS OF PEOPLE
DEDICATED TO THE CITY BUDGET, OR
EQUITY AND EMPLOYMENT,
OR COMMUNITY SAFETY, FOR EXAMPLE.

Nam says AND TAMER, WE MET THIS YEAR
BECAUSE YOUR ORGANIZATION,
THE LAIDLAW FOUNDATION, HOSTED
THE YOUTH TOWN HALL DEBATE FOR
THE PROVINCIAL ELECTION.
WHAT DOES THE LAIDLAW FOUNDATION DO?

The caption changes to "Tamer Ibrahim. Laidlaw Foundation."

Tamer says SO THE LAIDLAW FOUNDATION
IS... IT'S A PRIVATE FOUNDATION
THAT'S BASED IN TORONTO THAT'S
REALLY INTERESTED IN
SUPPORTING YOUTH-LED INITIATIVES
TACKLING A NUMBER OF ISSUES
IN COMMUNITIES ACROSS ONTARIO,
SO WE FUND RIGHT ACROSS
THE PROVINCE.
SO IF YOU'RE A GROUP OF YOUNG
PEOPLE THAT'S REALLY INTERESTED
AND PASSIONATE ABOUT SOMETHING
THAT YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO
TACKLE IN YOUR COMMUNITY, WE
OFFER A NUMBER OF GRANTING
PROGRAMS THAT ARE ABLE TO HELP
GROUPS OF YOUNG PEOPLE COME
TOGETHER AND BE ABLE TO ADDRESS
THOSE ISSUES.
WE ALSO HAVE PARTNERSHIPS WITH
THE MINISTRY OF CHILDREN AND
YOUTH SERVICES.
AND INNOWEAVE, WHICH IS AN
INITIATIVE BASED OUT OF OTTAWA,
SUPPORTING US ON A PROGRAM
CALLED YOUTH COLLECTIVE IMPACT
WHERE WE BRING ORGANIZATIONS
TOGETHER TO ADDRESS ONE
PARTICULAR YOUTH ISSUE IN THEIR
COMMUNITY AND CREATE MEANINGFUL
CHANGE AROUND IT.
SO THAT'S THE WORK WE DO.

Nam says AND IN MY TIME AROUND YOU, I
THINK THIS IS JUST BEYOND WORK.
THIS IS... YOU'RE VERY
PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS WORK.
WHY ARE YOU SO PASSIONATE ABOUT IT?

Tamer says WELL, I THINK IT HAS SOMETHING
TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT I
STARTED OUT WORKING IN A
GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATION OUT IN
REGENT PARK AND IT WAS JUST
REALLY INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT
YOUNG PEOPLE WERE REALLY
PASSIONATE ABOUT IN
THE COMMUNITY.
WE FOUND THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE
REALLY INTERESTED IN A NUMBER OF
PRIORITIES AND ISSUES AND HAVE
OPPORTUNITIES TO NOT ONLY JUST
FIND SUCCESS IN THEIR OWN LIVES,
BUT ALSO TO BE ABLE TO ADDRESS
THEM WITHIN THE COMMUNITY AS
WELL, SO WHEN I HAD AN
OPPORTUNITY TO WORK AT THIS
GRASS ROOTS ORGANIZATION AND SEE
THIS KIND OF WORK HAPPENING, I
SAID, "YOU KNOW WHAT, THIS
FEELS A LOT LIKE HOME AND I
THINK THAT SOMETHING WONDERFUL
CAN COME OUT OF IT."

Nam says AND YOU KNOW, WE'RE... IT
SEEMS LIKE WE'RE SURROUNDED
WITH ELECTIONS.
THE PROVINCIAL ELECTION JUST
FINISHED AND NOW WE'RE
GETTING... WE'RE HEADING INTO
THE MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS.
ARE YOUTH CONCERNS OFTEN
SOMETHING THAT CAN BE ADDRESSED
AT THE BALLOT BOX?
EDNA, I'LL START WITH YOU.

Edna says YEAH, I DEFINITELY THINK YOUTH
CONCERNS ARE AT THE BALLOT BOX,
WHETHER WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
TRANSPORTATION OR THE
AFFORDABILITY CRISIS HERE IN
TORONTO, FOR EXAMPLE,
AROUND HOUSING.
I GUESS THE QUESTION REALLY
COMES AROUND: "ARE WE FRAMING
THESE ISSUES WITH THE YOUTH
PERSPECTIVE OR CONTEXT?
ARE WE ASKING QUESTIONS IN TERMS
OF HOW IT'S GOING TO IMPACT
YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY?
OR ARE THESE STRATEGIES AND
INITIATIVES THAT WE'RE LOOKING
TO DEVELOP, ARE THEY GOING
TO... ARE WE KIND OF MORE
FORWARD-LOOKING?
ARE WE LOOKING AT HOW IT'S GOING
TO IMPACT YOUNG PEOPLE 10 TO 20
YEARS FROM NOW?"

Nam says SO MORE LONG-TERM, NOT JUST NOW.

Edna says YEAH, SO WHEN WE'RE THINKING
ABOUT NOW, I FIND WE DON'T
NECESSARILY... UNEMPLOYMENT
FOR EXAMPLE, WE DON'T
NECESSARILY FRAME IT AROUND HOW
HIGH OUR YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT
RATE IS.
OR IF WE'RE LOOKING AROUND
TRANSPORTATION, WE'RE NOT KIND
OF THINKING ABOUT WHO'S
INHERITING ALL OF THESE PLANS
THAT WE HAVE THAT ARE GOING TO
COME INTO FRUITION IN THE NEXT
20 YEARS.

Nam says AND TAMER?

Tamer says UM, IN TERMS OF THE WORK THAT
YOUNG PEOPLE ARE DOING, I MEAN,
I THINK SOME OF THE WORK THAT'S
HAPPENING AT THE FOUNDATION,
THE YOUNG PEOPLE THAT WE'RE
SUPPORTING, WE SEE THAT A LOT OF
YOUNG PEOPLE ARE REALLY
INTERESTED IN SOME OF THE
SYSTEMIC ISSUES.

Nam says WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

Tamer says IN TERMS OF... WE RECOGNIZE
THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE REALLY
INTERESTED IN, YOU KNOW, SEEING
SOMETHING THAT'S HAPPENING IN
THEIR COMMUNITY AND THEY WANT TO
BE ABLE TO BUILD A COALITION AND
SAY, "OKAY.
WE RECOGNIZE THAT SOMETHING
ISN'T WORKING AND WE WANT TO
BE ABLE TO CREATE SOME CHANGE
AROUND IT."
SO... AND I GUESS THAT HAS... THAT'S
IN PART DUE TO THE, YOU KNOW,
THE NATURE OF THE WORK THAT WE DO.
THE YOUNG PEOPLE THAT WE
NORMALLY TALK TO ARE GENERALLY
ADVOCATES AND THEY'RE CHAMPIONS
THAT WANT TO BE ABLE TO SEE
THOSE KIND OF SYSTEMIC CHANGES
WITHIN THEIR COMMUNITY.
SO THAT'S GENERALLY THE
DISCOURSE OF THE CONVERSATION
THAT WE'RE HAVING.

Nam says IN SPITE OF WHAT YOU'VE JUST
SAID, AND WHAT YOU'VE ALSO SAID
EDNA, WE STILL HAVE THIS IDEA
THAT WHEN IT COMES TO VOTING
THAT, YOU KNOW, YOUTH DON'T
REALLY CARE.
THEY'RE APATHETIC.
IS THAT TRUE OR IS THIS JUST
SOMETHING THAT'S JUST, YOU KNOW,
OLDER PEOPLE GET WRONG?

[LAUGHTER]

Nam says YOU BOTH LAUGH.
I'M ONE OF THOSE OLDER PEOPLE, OKAY?
DON'T JUDGE ME.
EDNA, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

The caption changes to "Edna Ali, @efalax."

Edna says THAT IS SUCH AN INTERESTING KIND
OF THING TO SAY ABOUT YOUNG
PEOPLE, BECAUSE I SEE ENGAGEMENT
EVERY DAY WITH THE YOUNG PEOPLE
THAT I WORK WITH AT THE TORONTO
YOUTH CABINET.
WHETHER IT'S HYPERLOCAL IN THEIR
NEIGHBOURHOODS, IN THEIR
COMMUNITIES, IN THEIR SCHOOLS,
IN THEIR COMMUNITY CENTRES.

Nam says BUT DOES THAT TRANSLATE TO THE
TIME WHEN, YOU KNOW... DO
THEY VOTE?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: TVO.org. Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram."

Edna says THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.
I'D LOVE TO KNOW... I KNOW WE
HAVE THE NUMBERS FEDERALLY,
BUT I DON'T QUITE KNOW IN TERMS
OF PROVINCIALLY OR MUNICIPALLY,
HOW MANY YOUNG PEOPLE ARE
VOTING.
AND I GUESS IF A YOUNG PERSON
ISN'T NECESSARILY GOING TO A
BALLOT BOX, I GUESS... I GUESS
IT'S A QUESTION OF DO THEY THINK
THERE'S IMPACT THERE?

The caption changes to "Tamer Ibrahim, @twamerz."

Tamer says I WILL SAY HOWEVER, THAT THE
YOUNG PEOPLE ARE ENGAGED IN
BETWEEN THE TIMES OF ELECTIONS,
SO WE FIND A LOT OF LEADERSHIP
INITIATIVES GOING ON IN
COMMUNITIES ACROSS ONTARIO AND
EVEN AROUND THE WORLD.
IN THE UNITED STATES, WE'RE
SEEING THAT, PARTICULARLY THE
ANTI-GUN MOVEMENT THAT'S
HAPPENING IN THE UNITED STATES
RIGHT NOW.
THAT'S A MOVEMENT THAT'S
PREDOMINANTLY BY AND FOR YOUNG
PEOPLE, AND TRYING TO RAISE
THEIR VOICES AND THEIR CONCERNS
ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THE GROUND.

Nam says DOES SOMETHING LIKE THAT
AFFECT YOUTH IN CANADA?

Tamer says I MEAN, I THINK IT DOES IN SOME RESPECTS.
I THINK YOUNG PEOPLE ARE
LISTENING AND THEY'RE VERY
ATTENTIVE TO WHAT'S HAPPENING IN
THE WORLD.
AND OFTEN ARE TRYING TO SAY,
"OKAY, WELL, HOW CAN WE
TRANSLATE THIS INTO SOME OF THE
PARTICULAR ISSUES THAT ARE
HAPPENING ON THE GROUND FOR
US?"

Nam says WHAT REASONS MIGHT MAKE YOUNG
PEOPLE FEEL A BIT TURNED OFF
FROM PARTICIPATING AS VOTERS IN
ELECTIONS?

Edna says I KIND OF SPOKE TO THAT EARLIER.
ARE WE CONSIDERING YOUTH
PERSPECTIVES IN THESE QUESTIONS
THAT AREN'T ON THE BALLOT BOXES
WHEN THEY'RE COMING TOGETHER,
AND WHEN THE ISSUES ARE FRAMED
AROUND TRANSPORTATION OR HOUSING.

Nam says DO YOU THINK THAT YOUNG
PEOPLE ARE AN AFTERTHOUGHT FROM
THE OTHER DEMOGRAPHICS?

Edna says DEFINITELY.
I SEE THAT A LOT.
WE DON'T REALLY ASK IN TERMS OF
HOW ARE YOUNG RENTERS OR
MILLENNIALS... IN TERMS OF OUR
MILLENNIALS, I SUPPOSE... HOW
ARE THEY BEING AFFECTED BY THESE
ISSUES OR HOW THERE'S GOING TO
BE WORK DONE TO ADDRESS HOW IT
IMPACTS THEM?

Tamer says WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR PLATFORMS
WHEN WE'RE COMMUNICATING WITH
YOUTH ACROSS THE PROVINCE WHEN
IT COMES TO TALKING ABOUT THE
ELECTIONS AND THINGS OF THAT
NATURE.
TRADITIONAL MEDIA OUTLETS
PERHAPS, ARE NOT THE PLATFORMS
THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE TURNING TO.
THEY'RE MORE ENGAGED WITH SOCIAL
MEDIA.
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT, YOU
KNOW, THE LAIDLAW FOUNDATION DID
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH TVO AROUND
THE YOUTH TOWN HALLS, IS WE MADE
SURE THAT WE STREAMED IT ONLINE
VIA SOCIAL MEDIA, ON TWITTER.

Nam says SO YOU WENT TO THEM.

Tamer says EXACTLY, YEAH.
SO WE INITIALLY WENT TO THEM,
AND SO WE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A
GREAT AVENUE TO BE ABLE TO HAVE
PEOPLE ENGAGED.
IT WAS ONE OF THE NUMBER ONE
TRENDING TOPICS IN CANADA AND
ACROSS ONTARIO.
CAN'T REALLY SAY INITIALLY HOW
MANY PEOPLE WERE... HOW MANY
YOUNG PEOPLE WERE ENGAGED IN
THAT, BUT IT CERTAINLY DID
GENERATE SOME BUZZ.

Nam says WELL, YOU BROUGHT UP THE NUMBERS
A COUPLE OF TIMES.
AND DESPITE A REPUTATION FOR LOW
ENGAGEMENT... VOTING NUMBERS IN RECENT
ELECTIONS HAVE SHOWN THE YOUTH
MAY CARE MORE THAN MOST THINK.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Ontario youth voter turnout. 2015 federal election."

Nam reads data from the slate and says
FOR THE 2015 FEDERAL ELECTION
FIRST TIME VOTERS, 56.4 percent TURNED
OUT TO VOTE.
AND VOTERS AGED 18 TO 24, THAT
WAS 56.2 percent.
SHOULD WE EXPECT TO SEE THIS
KIND OF YOUTHQUAKE AT MUNICIPAL
ELECTIONS IN ONTARIO IN THE FALL?
EDNA?

The caption changes to "Becoming politically engaged."

Edna says I CERTAINLY HOPE SO.
I THINK NOW, MORE THAN EVER,
FOLKS ARE REALLY SEEING WHAT'S
AT STAKE AND THE TORONTO YOUTH
CABINET DEFINITELY IS GOING TO
BE DOING LOTS OF WORK AROUND THE
ELECTION AND ENGAGING YOUNG
PEOPLE AND HEARING YOUTH
PERSPECTIVES AROUND THESE ISSUES
AND HOPEFULLY ENSURING THAT
CANDIDATES WHO ARE RUNNING ARE
KEEPING THESE... THIS
COMMUNITY OR COMMUNITIES IN MIND.

Nam says AND WHAT IS THE LAIDLAW
FOUNDATION... ARE YOU GOING TO
BE DOING SOMETHING TO MAYBE
AFFECT THAT TO GET MORE YOUTH TO
COME OUT FOR THE MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS?

Tamer says ABSOLUTELY.
SO ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE DID
FOR THE PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS IS
WE LAUNCHED A POP-UP GRANT
THAT'S DESIGNED TO PROVIDE SOME
FUNDING FOR YOUNG PEOPLE THAT
WANT TO ENGAGE OTHER YOUNG
PEOPLE IN THE PROVINCIAL
ELECTIONS.
WE'RE GOING TO BE DOING
SOMETHING VERY SIMILAR FOR THE
UPCOMING MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS.

Nam says AND YOU BROUGHT UP
SOMETHING THAT I THOUGHT WAS
REALLY INTERESTING JUST A FEW
MOMENTS AGO.
DO YOU THINK THAT IF POLITICIANS
WERE TO FOCUS ON ONE PARTICULAR
ISSUE FOR YOUNGER PEOPLE, THAT
THEY WOULD ACTUALLY HAVE MORE OF
AN IMPACT IN GETTING THEM OUT TO
VOTE FOR THEM?

Tamer says I WOULD THINK SO.
I THINK IT WOULD BE REALLY
INTERESTING TO SEE A CAMPAIGN
THAT'S GEARED TO YOUNG PEOPLE.
LISTENING TO THE VOICES OF YOUNG
PEOPLE THAT MIGHT BE ABLE TO
ENGAGE THEM IN BEING A VOICE AND
ADVOCATE FOR OTHERS IN THE
COMMUNITY TO BE ABLE TO TAKE
PART IN SOME OF THE
CONVERSATIONS THAT THEY SHOULD
BE HAVING WITH SOME OF
THE CANDIDATES.

Nam says THE SAMARA CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY
DID A STUDY ABOUT HOW YOUTH
ENGAGED WITH POLITICS.
HERE'S A BIT ABOUT WHAT THAT
STUDY FOUND.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "How youth get involved." The quote reads "Those blaming apathy for a precipitous decline in youth voter turnout need to rethink their diagnosis. Voter activity is lower among those 18 to 29, however this age group is more likely than its elder cohorts to engage in other forms of political activity. Such activities include attending a political meeting, volunteering for a candidate, giving a political speech in public, or organizing a political public event."
Quoted from Matthew Little, The Epoch Times. September 9, 2015.

Nam says TAMER, YOU MIGHT... WHY MIGHT
SOME YOUTH BE INCLINED TO
ENGAGE, BUT NOT NECESSARILY AT
THE BALLOT BOX?

Tamer says UM, THAT IS A VERY GOOD QUESTION.
I THINK I'LL DRAW ON SOME OF MY
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES
WHEN... WHEN I WAS GROWING UP.
I MEAN, ONE OF MY FIRST
INVOLVEMENTS IN THE MUNICIPAL
GOVERNMENT WAS, WE HAD APPLIED
FOR SOME FUNDING TO HOST
A FESTIVAL.
AND UNFORTUNATELY, WE WERE
DECLINED FOR THAT FUNDING,
BUT THE CITY HAD SET UP A POT OF
FUNDING DESIGNED FOR PEOPLE
THAT WANTED TO DO A DEPOSITION
AT CITY HALL IN FRONT OF CITY
COUNCILLORS AND HAVE THEM, YOU
KNOW, CHANGE THEIR MIND ABOUT,
YOU KNOW, APPROVING... HAVE THEM
CHANGE THEIR MIND ABOUT THIS
FUNDING AND SAY, "YOU KNOW WHAT,
YOU SHOULD APPROVE US,
BECAUSE WE'RE DOING SOME
INCREDIBLE WORK."
AND THAT WAS MY INITIAL ENTRANCE
INTO, YOU KNOW, LOOKING AT SORT
OF MUNICIPAL LIFE.
IT WAS AN INTERESTING EXPERIENCE
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, YOU HAD TO
SIT THERE.
ALL OF THE CITY COUNCILLORS ARE
LOOKING AT YOU.
YOU GOT THREE-AND-A-HALF MINUTES
TO MAKE YOUR CASE, AND THAT'S
IT, AND THEN YOU'RE OUT THE
DOOR.
UNFORTUNATELY, WE WERE
UNSUCCESSFUL BUT I THINK WHAT IT
DID WAS, IT OPENED UP MY
APPETITE FOR REALLY TRYING TO
SEE, OKAY, THERE'S A WORLD OUT
THERE THAT'S DESIGNED TO BE
ACTIVATED AND BE ACCESSED, SO
THAT YOU CAN GO IN THERE AND
SAY, "YOU KNOW WHAT?
I HAVE SOMETHING REALLY
IMPORTANT TO SAY."
THERE ARE OTHER THINGS BEYOND
JUST GOING TO THE BALLOT BOX
WHERE YOU CAN HAVE A VOICE
DURING THE... WITHIN THE
MUNICIPAL PARTIES AND WITHIN
WORK ON MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT,
SO I THINK IT WAS JUST BY CHANCE
AND IT WAS A WONDERFUL CHANCE
AND WE TOOK ACTION.

Nam says IS IT INTIMIDATING THOUGH, FOR
SOMEONE WHO'S YOUNGER TO
APPROACH THESE OLDER POLITICIANS?

Edna says DEFINITELY AND I THINK EVEN
APPROACHING INSTITUTIONS... I'M
GIVING A TORONTO CONTEXT, LIKE
CITY HALL, FOR EXAMPLE, CAN BE
EXTREMELY INTIMIDATING FOR A
YOUNG PERSON.
YOU MIGHT COME IN, NOT
NECESSARILY THINKING WHAT YOU
HAVE TO SAY HAS VALUE OR THAT
YOU DON'T HAVE THE
RIGHT EXPERTISE.
AND SO I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT
THAT WE OPEN UP THESE SPACES.
I THINK ONE THING THAT TORONTO
YOUTH CABINET DOES AND WE ALWAYS
ENSURE OUR MEETINGS ARE AT CITY
HALL SO WE'RE OPENING UP THE
SPACE TO YOUNG PEOPLE AS A PLACE
THAT THEY CAN GO TO, A PLACE
THAT THEY CAN TAKE UP SPACE IN
AND MAKE THEIR VOICES AND
IDEAS HEARD.
AND WE ARE TRYING NOW TO ALSO
ENGAGE YOUNG PEOPLE WITH THEIR
COUNCILLORS SO THAT...

Nam says IN WHAT WAYS?

Edna says MEETING THEM.
ENGAGING WITH THEM.
KNOWING WHO THEY ARE IN THE
FIRST PLACE AS WELL.
AND KNOWING THAT THIS IS SOMEONE
THAT YOU CAN, AS A CONSTITUENT,
WHETHER OR NOT YOU CAN VOTE, AS
SOMEONE WHO YOU CAN GO TO WITH
YOUR CONCERNS.

Nam says ARE SOME COUNCILLORS MORE
ACCESSIBLE THAN OTHERS?

Edna says IT KIND OF DEPENDS, IN MANY RESPECTS.
I MEAN, IF YOU ARE IN A
COMMUNITY WHERE TRANSPORTATION
IS A CHALLENGE, JUST KIND OF
GETTING TO WHERE THEY ARE CAN BE
A CHALLENGE.
AND IT CAN BE A CHALLENGE IN
TERMS OF ESTABLISHING THAT
RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM.

Nam says SO DO YOU THINK THAT
POLITICIANS, COUNCILLORS,
HAVE TO... THEY SHOULD HAVE THE
ONUS IN GETTING TO KNOW YOUNGER
PEOPLE AND TO COMMUNICATE WITH THEM?

Tamer says ABSOLUTELY.
I THINK OF... THERE
WAS... SO COUNCILLOR NEETHAN
SHAN, FOR INSTANCE, WHO
IS... HE STARTED OUT AS A
YOUTH ADVOCATE AND EVENTUALLY
BECAME A CITY COUNCILLOR, HAS
ALWAYS BEEN A VOICE FOR YOUNG
PEOPLE FOR MANY, MANY YEARS AND
I THINK WHAT'S WONDERFUL ABOUT
COUNCILLOR SHAN IS THAT HE
IS... HE REALLY LOOKS AT THE
SYSTEM THAT DISCRIMINATES YOUNG
PEOPLE AND SAYS SOMETHING NEEDS
TO CHANGE ABOUT IT IN ORDER FOR
YOUNG PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO
ACCESS IT AND HAVE A VOICE AND
BE LEADERS WITHIN THEIR
COMMUNITIES.
SO I LOOK TO HIM FOR LEADERSHIP
AND I SAY, "YOU KNOW WHAT?
THERE ARE SOME COUNCILLORS THAT
ARE CERTAINLY STRONGER VOICES
FOR YOUNG PEOPLE THAN OTHERS,
"AND HE EXEMPLIFIES
THAT TREMENDOUSLY.

Nam says SO MAYBE HE CAN INFLUENCE HIS
COLLEAGUES, IN A WAY.

Tamer says ABSOLUTELY.
I MEAN, HE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO
COME OUT TO A CONVENING THAT WAS
HOSTED BY THE LAIDLAW FOUNDATION
AND WE HAD THE FORMER MINISTER
OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES,
MICHAEL COTEAU AT THE TIME,
THERE.
AND HE HAD A CHANCE TO SPEAK
ABOUT SOME OF THOSE PRIORITIES
AND SAID YOUNG PEOPLE CANNOT BE
STIGMATIZED.
THEY CANNOT BE CRIMINALIZED.
WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO SAY THEY
HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY.
AND IT'S IMPORTANT FOR THEM TO
BE ABLE TO REACH PEOPLE ACROSS
COMMUNITIES AND BE LEADERS IN
THE COMMUNITIES.

Nam says AND MAYBE TO ALSO UNDERSTAND
THAT THEY DO HAVE THE POWER,
THE POWER OF THE VOTE.
HOW DO YOU GET YOUNG PEOPLE TO
UNDERSTAND THAT THEIR VOTE CAN
MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

The caption changes to "Taking action."

Edna says THAT'S A REALLY GREAT QUESTION
IN TERMS OF WHETHER OR NOT THEIR
VOTE... LIKE 'CAUSE IT DOES,
AS YOU SAID, COMES WITH A LOT
POWER IN TERMS OF SELECTING WHO
WILL BE THE REPRESENTATIVE OF
THEIR COMMUNITIES.
BUT I GUESS IT KIND OF JUST GOES
BACK TO WHAT WE'VE BEEN TALKING
ABOUT IN TERMS OF WHETHER OR NOT
YOUNG PEOPLE THINK THAT THAT HAS
MORE IMPACT COMPARED TO OTHER
AVENUES.
I THINK IT'S A MATTER OF REALLY
KIND OF REFRAMING OUR EDUCATION
AROUND VOTING AND CIVIC
ENGAGEMENT IN THAT RESPECT,
BECAUSE IF A YOUNG PERSON THINKS
MY BALLOT OR MY VOTE DOESN'T
NECESSARILY MATTER, I THINK IT'S
REALLY SPEAKING TO THEM SAYING
THAT THEY DON'T NECESSARILY
THINK IN THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT
IN SELECTING THAT
REPRESENTATIVE, THAT'S A
MEANINGFUL WAY FOR THEM TO ENACT
CHANGE AS OPPOSED TO SAY,
OTHER MEANS LIKE PETITIONS OR
PROTESTING OR WORKSHOPS OR OTHER
AVENUES FOR THEM.

Nam says IN ONTARIO, YOU TAKE A GRADE 10
CIVICS CLASS AND YOU LEARN ABOUT
THE ELECTION PROCESS, POLITICS.
DO YOU THINK THAT'S AN EFFECTIVE
WAY IN HELPING STUDENTS
UNDERSTAND AND ENGAGE IN CIVIC ISSUES?

Tamer says IT WASN'T FOR ME.
BUT WHAT I DID FIND WAS, IT WAS
AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN THAT
THESE ENTITIES WERE OUT THERE.
MY INITIAL EXPERIENCE, AND
SOMETHING THAT I ENCOURAGE ALL
YOUNG PEOPLE TO DO, IS TALK TO
YOUR CITY COUNCILLOR AND
VOLUNTEER FOR YOUR CITY
COUNCILLOR.
GO OUT AND CANVAS FOR YOUR CITY
COUNCILLOR AND HAVE A CHANCE TO
GO DOOR-TO-DOOR AND TALK TO SOME
OF THE PEOPLE IN YOUR COMMUNITY.

Nam says I THINK THAT'S KIND OF
EASIER SAID THAN DONE THOUGH, RIGHT?

Tamer says IT CAN BE.
IT CAN BE IN SOME SENSE.
I THINK IT TAKES A LOT OF
COURAGE AND IT ALSO TAKES A LOT
OF TIME TO, YOU KNOW, ADAPT TO
THIS ENVIRONMENT AND
SAY... PERHAPS IT COULDN'T BE FOR
EVERYONE BUT ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT I FOUND A GREAT DEAL OF
VALUE IN UNDERSTANDING POLITICS
AND REALLY ENGAGING IN POLITICS
WAS TO BE ABLE TO VOLUNTEER FOR
A CITY COUNCILLOR AND JUST HAVE
AN OPPORTUNITY TO CANVAS
NEIGHBOURHOODS AND TALK TO SOME
OF THE PEOPLE AND BECOME A
SCRUTINEER AND KEEP AN EYE ON
VOTING BALLOTS AND SEE WHAT'S
GOING ON.
BECAUSE WHEN YOU'RE IMMERSED
INTO THAT ENVIRONMENT, I THINK
WHAT'S WONDERFUL IS THAT CITY
COUNCILLORS ARE SURROUNDED BY
POLICY MAKERS AND STRATEGISTS
THAT TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE
PRIORITIES OF THE WARD.
WHEN YOU JUST LISTEN IN AND
ABSORB ALL THAT INFORMATION,
IT'S ACTUALLY A WONDERFUL
OPPORTUNITY TO REALLY LEARN ON
THE GROUND WHAT'S BEEN
HAPPENING.

Nam says SO SITTING IN A
CLASSROOM... 'CAUSE YOU SAID IT
DIDN'T WORK FOR YOU.
WAS IT JUST BECAUSE THE
INFORMATION, YOU WEREN'T ABLE TO
LIKE UNDERSTAND IT OR IT JUST
DIDN'T... LIKE THERE WAS NO
REFERENCE POINT FOR YOU?

Tamer says THERE WAS NO REFERENCE POINT AND
THERE WAS JUST... IT WAS AS IF
THERE WAS A LINE THAT WAS JUST DRAWN.
I WAS JUST RECEIVING INFORMATION
ABOUT, YOU KNOW, CIVIC
ENGAGEMENT AND THAT WAS THE
BEGINNING AND THE END OF IT.

Nam says SO GOING INTO THE FIELD, YOU
ACTUALLY FEEL LIKE, "OKAY, THIS
IS WHAT IT IS AND THIS IS HOW
IT'S DONE."

Tamer says EXACTLY AND IT WASN'T INITIALLY
PART OF THE CONVERSATION IN
CLASS, BUT RATHER, THIS IS WHAT
EXISTS AND THAT WAS PRETTY MUCH IT.

Nam says SO LET'S TALK ABOUT ISSUES.
WE'RE ALMOST OUT OF TIME.
WHAT ISSUES CAN WE EXPECT TO BE
PROMINENT IN THE MIDDLE
OF... IN THE MIDDLE OF THE
MINDS OF YOUTH IN THE UPCOMING
MUNICIPAL ELECTION?

Edna says KIND OF THE BIGGER ISSUES THAT
HAVE BEEN SPOKEN TO FOR QUITE
SOME TIME NOW IN TERMS OF
WHETHER WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT... AND THIS IS COMING
FROM A TORONTO-CENTRIC
PERSPECTIVE, BUT TRANSPORTATION,
HOUSING,
AND ALSO COMMUNITY SAFETY.
AND I ACTUALLY WANTED TO QUICKLY
JUMP ON THAT POINT IN TERMS OF
CIVIC EDUCATION.
I THINK ONE THING IS, WE DON'T
ALSO EMPOWER YOUNG PEOPLE.
I TEND TO... WHENEVER I'M IN A
SPACE WITH A LOT OF YOUNG
PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY HIGH
SCHOOLERS AND GRADE 10S WHO HAVE
TAKEN OR ARE TAKING
CIVICS... LIKE TO ASK,
"OKAY, SO WHO HERE HAS TOLD
YOU TO VOTE BEFORE?
OR TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO VOTE?"
AND ALL HANDS GO UP IN THE ROOM
AND THEY USUALLY ROLL THEIR EYES
AND THEN I SAY, "OKAY, WHO TOLD
YOU TO RUN WHEN YOU TURN 18 IN
ADDITION TO VOTING?"
AND USUALLY THEY'LL KIND OF GIVE
ME LIKE AN ASTONISHED LOOK OR
CONFUSED LOOK LIKE, "WHY WOULD
ANYONE ENCOURAGE ME TO RUN?"
AND I THINK THAT'S KIND OF ONE
FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE THAT WE SHOULD
ALSO BE EXPLORING IN TERMS OF
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN
ACTIVE CITIZEN AND IT'S NOT
NECESSARILY JUST SOLELY VOTING,
BUT BEING ENGAGED IN OTHER WAYS.
I THINK YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE LOTS
TO OFFER JUST BEYOND PUTTING
BALLOTS OUT, BUT ALSO BEING ON
THOSE BALLOTS AS A CANDIDATE.

Nam says WELL, IN THE PAST PROVINCIAL
ELECTION, THERE WAS A NUMBER OF
YOUNG PEOPLE THAT RAN, INCLUDING
SAM OOSTERHOFF, SO YOU THINK
THAT IF YOU SEE SOMEBODY YOUR
AGE DOING THAT, IT INFLUENCES
YOU TO SAY, "OKAY, I CAN
ACTUALLY IMPACT CHANGE.
IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT ME VOTING,
BUT ME ACTUALLY BEING AN
ACTIVE CITIZEN."

Edna says IT MAKES IT SEEM AS THOUGH IT'S
SOMETHING LEGITIMATE IF YOU DO
SEE SOMEONE YOUR AGE DOING THAT.
I THINK IT REALLY MAKES IT A
REALITY.
I THINK THAT SORT OF
REPRESENTATION IS REALLY
ESSENTIAL IN TERMS OF GUIDING
PEOPLE'S PATHS AND SEEING WHAT'S
POTENTIALLY POSSIBLE.

Nam says AND TAMER.

Tamer says I WOULD SAY THAT IN TERMS OF
SOME OF YOUNG PEOPLE'S
PRIORITIES IN THE UPCOMING
ELECTION WOULD PROBABLY
BE HOUSING.
THERE'S A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE
OUT THERE THAT ARE... THEY
CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY HOMES AND
WHEN THEY'RE DIVERTED INTO THE
RENTER'S MARKET, SOME OF THEM
EXPERIENCE DISCRIMINATION IN
CERTAIN CASES.
I THINK GUN VIOLENCE IS GOING TO
BE A BIG TOPIC THAT'S COMING UP.

Nam says SO COMMUNITY SAFETY?

Tamer says COMMUNITY SAFETY, ABSOLUTELY.
AND I THINK WE'RE ON TRACK TO
MEET THE NUMBERS OF THE YEAR
OF THE GUN BACK IN 2005, WHICH
IS UNFORTUNATE.
CARDING IS GOING TO BE ANOTHER
BIG TOPIC THAT'S GOING TO BE AT
THE TABLE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE,
BECAUSE A LOT OF THEM ARE
EXPERIENCING DISCRIMINATION
AROUND IT.
SO... AND WE KNOW THAT THERE'S
A LOT OF... THERE ARE SMALL
COALITIONS THAT ARE ALREADY
ADDRESSING THOSE
PARTICULAR ISSUES.
CIVIC ACTION IS DOING SOME WORK
ON THE GROUND.
CITIZENSHIP EMPOWERMENT IS ALSO
DOING SOME WORK AROUND POLICE
CARDING AND HOW TO HAVE POLICE
WORK WITH DISENGAGED
COMMUNITIES.
SO WE'RE SEEING SOME OF THESE
PRIORITIES BEING ADDRESSED
RIGHT NOW.

Nam says AND JUST TO PICK UP ON WHAT EDNA SAID...
WE HAVE LIKE A MINUTE LEFT.

Tamer says YEAH.

Nam says BUT TO CIRCLE TO THE BEGINNING
OF THE CONVERSATION WHERE YOUTH
MIGHT NOT FEEL LIKE THEY'RE PART
OF THE CONVERSATION OR
POLITICIANS ARE NOT ADDRESSING
THEIR NEEDS SO DO YOU THINK,
AS TO WHAT EDNA SAID, THAT MAYBE
MORE YOUTH NEED TO RUN AND
MAKE CHANGE THAT WAY?

Tamer says ABSOLUTELY.
I THINK WE NEED TO CHANGE THE
DISCOURSE, AND REALLY EMPOWER
YOUNG PEOPLE TO BE LEADERS.
I THINK WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN
IS WE'RE GOING TO SEE SOME NEW
IDEAS, SOMETHING... THINGS
THAT ARE A LOT MORE INNOVATIVE
IN TERMS OF WHAT OUR PRIORITIES
SHOULD BE, BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE
TIRED OF THE STATUS QUO.

The caption changes to "Producer: Jane Burke, @JBurkeTweets; Student Intern: Andrew Jeffrey."

Nam says AND KUDOS TO YOU BOTH.
YOU'RE DOING SOME REALLY
IMPORTANT WORK AND I HAVE TO
SAY, NOT TO BE BIASED OR
ANYTHING, YOU'RE PROBABLY TWO OF
MY FAVOURITE PEOPLE.

[LAUGHTER]

Nam says SO YEAH, THANKS SO MUCH FOR
BEING HERE.

Tamer says THANKS FOR HAVING US.

Edna says THANK YOU.

Watch: Youth at the Ballot Box