VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 4 CATEGORY: Social Sciences POSTED ON: 7/14/2010
Last year we debated, among other issues, the future of our economy, the need for real action on climate change and whether or not free trade with Colombia will aggravate human rights abuses in that country. People like me, from a working-class immigrant family from Finland, who grew up in a house without drinkable water and whose grandmother thought I would be a police officer because that must be what happens at law school. According to Elections Canada, only 58.8 percent of eligible voters voted in the 2008 federal election, the lowest turnout ever.
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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