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									                                                                         THE



                                                                         ROOKIE



                                                                                                              Leslie in Halifax,
                                                                                                              Nova Scotia,
                                               Megan Leslie                                                   November 2008.

                                                                b.
                                           29 SEPTEMBER 1973
                                        KIRKLAND LAKE, ONTARIO,
                                                CANADA

                                             Member of Parliament
                                                                         NEVER PLANNED
                                                                         on being a Member of Parlia-
                                                                                                              coast, when people started ask-
                                                                                                              ing me if I would run for elec-
                                                                                                              toral politics.
                                            HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA,
                                                                         ment (MP). If you told me two           When I celebrated my 36th
                                                           CANADA
                                                                         years ago that I would be sitting    birthday last fall, it gave me an
                                                                         in Canada’s House of Commons,        opportunity to reflect on my
  CANADIAN HOUSE OF COMMONS




                                                                         I would have laughed myself          first anniversary as an MP in the
                                                                         silly. I have always been inter-     House of Commons and how it
                                                                         ested in working toward social,      relates to the work I used to do as
                                                                         economic and environmental           a community legal worker.
                                                                         justice. I was doing this work          This past year I’ve experienced
                                                                         in a community legal clinic in       inspiring legislative victories
                                                                         Halifax on Canada’s Atlantic         and demoralizing defeats. These


                              A M E R I C A S Q U A R T E R LY . O R G                                       WINTER 2010   Americas Quarterly 85




AQ0110_YOUTH_70_89_13.indd Sec2:85                                                                                                              1/25/10 6:28:02 AM
                                 struggles have occurred within        present outside those walls.             I’ve read a lot about other gen-
     We need street              the stone walls of the Canadian          Change happens when a va-          erations fighting about who has
     theater, protest            Parliament, embedded within           riety of communities work to-         the best tactics and where power
     songs, articles,            the pomp and circumstance of          gether to demand it. We need          resides. My generation doesn’t
     teach-ins, policy           our national democratic insti-        lawyers to challenge unjust laws.     seem to care much for these de-
                                 tutions, on live TV, and in our       But we also need organizations        bates. Instead, we embrace a di-
     debates, and                national newspapers for the en-       that can mobilize communities         versity of tactics.
     film screenings.             tire country to see. While these      around issues. We need citizens          This somewhat different ap-
     And we need                 struggles are similar to the ones     writing letters to the editor. We     proach seems to be gaining trac-
     elected officials            I’ve faced in my community            need street theater, protest songs,   tion. A community organizer
                                 and within the legal system, it       articles, teach
								
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