“Make sure they get it”: Justin Trudeau

(Canscene) Last month in Toronto, Justin Trudeau, chair of the Katimavik Foundation presented a Nova Scotia student with one of Canada’s top environmental awards. His congratulatory remarks included the stern but hopeful reminder that the environmental fate of Canada depends on its young people.

Earth Day, Justin Trudeau

Joanna McNeil of St. Peter’s, NS, was named the national winner of the 2006 Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Program, which celebrates and rewards environmentally-minded students in Canada. Fourteen other youngsers were also recognized for their work.

In addition to being selected as an Atlantic regional winner of a $5000 Toyota Earth Day Scholarship, McNeil was presented with the national Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award and a Panasonic notebook computer at the awards ceremony held at the University of Toronto

“You are leaders — now”
In his brief but stirring tribute to the initiative of Canada’s youth, Trudeau said:

“We have heard a lot today about these 15 young people as leaders of the future, but the fact of the matter is they are leaders right now. They’re leaders because they realize the vital importance of the environment.

“They realize nothing else matters more than the environment: not the democratic deficit, not internatonal trade, not even wars. Politicians talk about the “long term perspective” but to them the long term means four years.

“They just don’t get it, but young people get it. They know that things we’re doing today will have an effect a hundred years from now. If we don’t recognize the need for change, if we don’t start doing something, the advances that science and technology have made will count for nothing.

Old structures don’t work
“The structures we’ ve built don’t work any moe. It’s wonderful to be here to salute 15 young people but we have to consider the thousands of disaffected young people — we have to make sure they get it. That’s he challenge you face — to make sure they get it.”

Trudeau’s address came at a time rumours were extant that he’d agreed to head a task force on youth in the remaking of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Whle at the time of posting this report nothing has been confirmed or denied, one can be sure that if Justin Trudeau accepts this assignment, he’ll be a thorn in the flesh of complacency.
(With files from Andy Frank, CIUT, Toronto)
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