York’s Young Liberals attract 19 MPs to leadership event

The biggest Liberal Party of Canada event at York in many years is set to take place at the Keele campus, as the York Young Liberals hold a leadership conference at the Underground on March 21 – but you have to be under 30 years old to attend.

Bob Rae Martha Hall Findlay
 Ken Dryden  Navdeep Bains
 Alan Tonks Omar Alghabra 

The York Grits hope to inspire more youth to be active in politics and become better leaders. “We believe that the large number of significant Liberal politicians will attract a lot of youth to the event,” says Neil Shukla, spokesperson for the York Young Liberals.

The York group, which Shukla says has seen an increase in membership over past years, has 19 Liberal MPs and some riding candidates scheduled to attend, several of whom are York grads.

Among those taking part as speakers are Liberal party president Alfred Apps; Bob Rae, MP for Toronto Centre and former Ontario premier; and Gerard Kennedy, MP for Parkdale-Highpark and, like Rae, a former Liberal leadership candidate.

Among the York alumni attending is Osgoode grad and former leadership candidate Martha Hall Findlay (LLB ’87), MP for Willowdale. Other York grads attending include Navdeep Bains (BAS ’99), MP for Mississauga/Brampton South, Alan Tonks (BA Spec. Hons. ’74, MA ’77), MP for York South-Weston, and Omar Alghabra (MBA ’00), former MP and current candidate in Mississauga-Erindale.

York Centre MP Ken Dryden (Hon. LLD ’96), former member of the Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens, who has a York honorary degree from the Schulich School of Business, will take part in the closing event of the conference, a dinner at which Liberal leaders will share their experience of becoming a leader and give advice to aspiring young Liberals.

Other notable Liberals attending are John McCallum, MP for Markham-Unionville and a former cabinet member, and Carolyn Bennett, MP for the Toronto riding of St. Paul’s, former leadership candidate and a former minister of state. Bennett is also the parent of York theatre alum Peter O’Brian (BA Spec. Hons. ’06).

Sessions during the day will include talks by sitting members of the House of Commons on topics such as fundraising and policy development, marketing and campaign development, diversity in politics and conflict management.

Tickets are $45 and include refreshments and dinner.

To register for the conference and for more information on the speakers, visit the York Young Liberals Web site.