Greetings from the Durham Pride Parade and Queer Stock Music Festival! We came out to support Durham Region’s LGBTQ community and had a blast! The parade itself was fun and colourful, with a bright and lively ROTC colour guard flag twirling performance, a school gay straight alliance, and many other loud and proud community organizations such as Durham Queer Parenting. Everyone showed up in fun and flashy outfits ready to show their pride and support of the LGBTQ community! Afterwards everyone got together at the Queer Stock Music Festival where the beer was plentiful and the music rich! We heard the music stylings of many artists and had a good time meeting and chatting with other members of the community! There were messages to the community from the Aids Committee and other prominent community members such as Councillor Amy England, Oshawa Mayor John Henry and MPP Tracy MacCharles. Over-all it was a great day with good food, good company and a lot of pride!
Hot or Not? Highlighting the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly at the 2012 Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Young Liberals
Hot: Prioritization of rural and non-Liberal ridings as targets of OYL outreach initiatives
The Conservative bastion that is the riding of Whitby-Oshawa received considerable attention throughout the weekend – now incumbent President of the Ontario Young Liberals, Kevin Leung, spiritedly proposed expansion of the “Liberal fortress” to include the Whitby-Oshawa electoral district, as well as the northern township of Sudbury. Both Leung and the newly elected Riding Director, Parker Mackay, have proposed the latter districts as sites for the much-anticipated OYL Summer Fling as a means of augmenting the tenuous Liberal presence therein.
Hot: Opportunities for dialogue with accomplished Liberal MPPs/MPs
The weekend was peppered with guest appearances by a host of renowned Liberal MPs and MPPs: Dr. Helena Jaczek, a physician, businesswoman, and current MPP for Oak-Ridges-Markham, addressed the gendered obstacles that inhibit Canadian women from pursuing elected office. Jaczek further provided a handful of insider tips for aspiring young politicians at Saturday’s Central Regional Meeting.
Moreover, Young Liberals availed themselves of question periods with Chris Bentley, MPP for London West; Bob Delaney, MPP for Mississauga-Streetsville; and John McCallum, MP for Markham-Unionville.
Hot: The competence and vision of OYL United and ReNEW OYL presidential candidates
Although admittedly a partisan of the OYL United slate, I could not help but applaud both United’s Kevin Leung and ReNEW’s Veena Bhullar throughout the course of the presidential debate. Both candidates arrived at the AGM with a sound experiential foundation in student politics: Leung a former member of the York University Young Liberals, outgoing OYL Communications Director, and pioneer of the Communications Committee informally known as “Comms Comms”; Bhullar the socially conscious founder of the Etobicoke North Young Liberals and former OYL Toronto Coordinator. Each highlighted the necessity of prudent fiscal management and community outreach to electoral districts in which the Liberal presence is meagre. As a means of achieving the objectives of financial accountability and transparency, Veena proposed regular financial updates to the executive board on the part of the OYL treasurer. Moreover, Bhullar touted the virtues of diversity within the OYL executive as a means of facilitating community outreach.
Whitby-Oshawa’s own Kevin Leung repeatedly recalled the prime objectives of the OYL United campaign that are “accountability, accessibility, affordability,” and touched upon the need to facilitate the establishment of Young Liberal student clubs and youth organizations province-wide.
Members of the Whitby Oshawa Young Liberals
Not: Disorganization at the polls
Poor organization at the polls resulted in long, winding line-ups, frustrated electors, and voting times bordering on the 1.5 hour mark. So as to reduce waiting times and perhaps augment voter turnout, delegates ought to have been organized alphabetically, with voting taking place in a variety of halls in the Delta according to the surname of the elector. Moreover, the use of single ballots for each position contested (each of which required authorization by a poll clerk) contributed to unnecessarily lengthy wait times – why not devise one ballot featuring all candidates to simplify the voting process?
Not: Unfriendly rivalry between United and ReNEW partisans
While I am pleased to convey that I did not bear witness to incidents of physical confrontation between supporters of opposing slates, I became aware of the exchange of unpleasant and needlessly critical remarks between partisans on social media networks throughout the course of candidate speeches. While I concede that the process of contesting elections is adversarial in nature, Young Liberals of all bents would be wise to recall the words of President Kevin Leung, who characterized the political relationship between United and ReNEW supporters as one of “sibling rivalry.” We are all proponents of the same brand whose political visions are underpinned by common Liberal values. As such, what many conceived as unfriendly competition between supporters of opposing slates ought to be supplanted in next year’s races by a friendly rivalry guided by the objective of “moving forward together.”
By Diba Somani
W.O.Y.L. Members with M.P.P. Helena Jaczek
This weekend the WOYL will be jetting off to sunny Mississauga for the Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Young Liberals. From this Friday until Sunday our delegation of members will be proudly representing us on the provincial stage. Be sure to check back here for updates as the weekend progresses as well as our member’s twitter feeds, particularly @Uranowski who is renowned for his insightful and poignant posts to the twitter-verse.
Best of luck to all Candidates this weekend, particularly Parker Mackay and Kevin Leung who hail from our very own riding.
No matter how Lady Fortune spins her wheel this weekend, let’s all remember we’re Liberals, and Liberals may disagree, but we always move Forward. Together.
Here is a list of the Current Candidates for the WOYL AGM:
Vice President Federal:
Vice President Provincial:
Vice President Outreach:
Anyone interested in running may send a brief bio to Whitby.email@example.com
Be sure to include the position you are seeking and that you are a liberal party member.
-Whitby Oshawa Young Liberals Executive
In a recent Toronto Star Article, It was revealed that Prime Minister Harper told Whitby Oshawa M.P. and Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty to stop taking swipes at Provincial Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s budget. Minister Jim Flaherty you may recall was at one time Ontario’s Finance Minister, unsuccessfully seeking the PC leadership, and being in the house with Mr. Duncan prior to the 2003 Liberal election victory. Minister Flaherty who is responsible for the federal budget, has been known for taking swipes at Liberals through his career (see the previously linked article) and has been a long time adversary of Minister Duncan; it is no wonder then that some see this as Minister Flaherty trying to bolster his own ego. The message is simple, I can make a better budget than Dwight can.
This kind of behaviour has been destructive to Ontario’s economy as recently the Province received a credit downgrade, owing in part to the lack of confidence from the Federal Government, and concerns about the budget being able to balance the books. The Liberal party of Ontario however, is attempting to balance political, social and economic concerns, thus making it difficult to immediately balance the budget. The credit downgrade will only make it more difficult for the province to meet its goals while keeping kids in schools doctors in hospitals and taxes reasonable.
Perhaps Minister Flaherty is so confident he could do a better job than the Liberals, he’s looking to join his wife and replace Tim with Jim.
5. Compromise: Tim Hudak, Andrea Howarth and Dalton McGuinty all ran during the 2011 election saying they wanted to make Queen’s Park work (or continue to work in the case of Premier McGuinty.) Though Tim Hudak and Christine Elliott walked away from the budget before they a chance to read it, Andrea Howarth and Premier McGuinty worked together to make a budget to benefit all Ontarians. In an age of political cynicism it was refreshing to see politicians do what they promised to do: work together. The Whitby-Oshawa Young Liberals are pro-compromise and therefore we are pro-Ontario Budget 2012.
4. Education and Health Care: These are tough economic times for Ontarians and the Government of Ontario but instead of slashing the social safety net (as the previous PC government did) Premier McGuinty realized that budgets are about priorities and Ontario’s health care and education systems are too important to cut. Though efficiencies can and must be found (which is why this budget includes a public sector pay freeze) a strong education system and affordable, efficient health care are both pillars of Ontario’s strong economy.
3. Deficit reduction: The 2012 Ontario Budget is a deficit fighting budget. The Whitby-Oshawa Young Liberals realize that our generation will inherit the deficit created by the global economic downturn in 2008. We are happy to see that Premier McGuinty is tackling the deficit now while ensuring that Ontario’s social safety net is protected. The 2% surtax on incomes over $500 000 (which ends when the budget is balanced in 2017-2018), a freeze on corporate taxes, a freeze on MPPs’ pay, and the ending of the $345 million subsidy to horse racing are just a few examples of the prudent decisions made in this budget. Christine Elliott said she was against this budget before she even read it. Ms. Elliott would rather spend $100 million on an election rather than working together with the government on the 2012 budget.
2. The HST and Tax Fairness: Ontario’s 2012 budget helps streamline Ontario’s tax code which will help create jobs and bring more investment into Ontario’s economy. Christine Elliott opposes the HST (even though she skipped the vote on its implementation) and decided to oppose Ontario’s 2012 budget before she had knew any of its details. The deal reached between Premier McGuinty and Andrew Howarth, and the Premier’s decision to freeze corporate taxes, shows maturity and ensures that this budget helps bring tax fairness to Ontario.
1. Jobs, jobs, jobs:Youth unemployment is at a 10 year high in Canada. While Stephen Harper’s government has done nothing to promote youth employment, Ontario’s budget continues record job growth in the province. Ontario is now a North American leader in job creation, outpacing other regions of Canada and the U.S.A. In March Ontario created 46 000 new jobs .More than half the new jobs in Canada last month were created right here in Ontario. Unemployment, now down to 7.4 per cent, is at the lowest level in three years.Ontario Liberals have the only plan to grow the economy and create good jobs for our families, while protecting health care and our schools.
For more information on Ontario’s 2012 Budget please visit the Budget 2012 website here.