Rookie NDP MP's reflect on spending their early 20s on Parliament Hill
Rookie NDP MP's Matthew Dubé (left) and Laurin Liu (right) speak with CP24 on Tuesday.
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, May 19, 2015 1:54PM EDT
The so-called “Orange Wave” that swept across the country in 2011 sent some unlikely candidates to Parliament Hill, including three McGill university students and one recent graduate.
Now four years later those rookie MP’s are running for re-election, two of them before they even turn 25.
On Tuesday , these young politicians – Charmaine Borg, Matthew Dubé, Mylène Freeman and Laurin Liu – sat down with CP24 to talk about the importance of giving young people a voice in politics.
Here are some of their reflections on what it was like to spend their early 20s representing constituents on Parliament Hill.
On younger people seeking political office
“I think a balance is important. Of course we couldn’t be an entire House of Commons filled with youth because we have to bounce off each other. There is something that we learn from older MP’s and I think there is something our older MP’s learn from us – we have a new perspective and a new way to look at things,” Charmaine Borg, the 24-year-old MP for Terrebonne—Blainville, said. “Ultimately the House of Commons is supposed to represent the commons and I think if you have a good representation it means youth, it means older people, and it means people of different ethnicities. It’s really important to have a House of Commons that represents the population.”
“Something that is really important is just showing people that it is possible. That is what happened in Quebec and I think it is important to note that in Quebec all those young MP’s are running again,” added 27-year-old Matthew Dube, who represents the riding of Chambly—Borduas “People are proud of the work that we have been able to do and I think that says a lot about what young people can bring to the process.”
On being a twenty-something MP
“It’s a wonderful job honestly. We are all running again right?” 26-year-old MP for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel Mylène Freeman said. “The experience it has given us as young people and also just the opportunity to show Canadians that young people can be politicians, that we can get people under the age of 35 involved formally has been amazing.
“I think we have been really effective. We fought in our ridings to defend jobs and to defend door-to-door delivery with Canada Post for example,” added 24-year-old Rivière-des-Mille-Îles MP Laurin Liu “I think in our ridings we have also been really successful in mobilizing people and inspiring people to be activists. I think that is part of our job.”
On people who say that they are too young to work as an MP
“I always say to those folks that I invite them to come to my riding. Come to an event with me and see how people react,” Dube said. “A lot of people are very proud with the work we have been able to do and the feeling on the ground is one that people are happy with the choice that they have made. There is no buyer’s remorse whatsoever.”
“A lot of people know who their local MP’s are and that is because of the work we have done over the last four years. I am doing door-to-door and I am walking up to doorsteps and people recognize me and are able to name me before I even introduce myself,” Freeman added. “We have made sure that we are connected to what is happening ground and have made sure we have brought those issues back into the house.”
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