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An endorsement of the OYL Roots movement.

Despite my “conversion” to a Liberal in December 2006, and taking out a Liberal Party membership, I really still haven’t gotten involved in the internal goings-on of the party. I know a lot of the people involved in the workings of the party, but I still feel like an observer looking in, rather then being involved in the internal politics of the Liberal Party (which to be honest is probably a good thing). I don’t often talk about aforementioned internal Liberal Party goings-on, because the people who find it interesting is probably a small number, and it hasn’t interested me, to put it bluntly, and there are other Liberal blogs who you can visit if that sort of stuff excites you.

I’m going to change that up a bit today and talk a bit about a bit of a movement going on in the youth wing of the Liberal Party – specifically amongst the Ontario Young Liberals (OYL). There is going to be an Annual General Meeting in Hamilton very shortly, and it involves amongst other things electing candidates to the various positions of the OYL. That movement I was talking about earlier that has formed to put forth a slate of candidates is called OYL Roots. Their website is still in the early formative stages, but this section here should explain why this group has formed and is putting up candidates for election:

Before many of us were involved with the Ontario Young Liberals, the OYL was much different. Instead of being subordinate to the senior parties, we were partners. The OYL Roots team wants to get back to that relationship. Back in the day, the OYL had a voice, we used it, and the senior party listened. We fought for progressive policies and ensured that they were present in our party’s platform and implemented once in government. The Young Liberals are responsible for many of Canada’s most forward thinking initiatives. When same-sex marriage was a taboo subject that few people would touch, we stood up and fought for it. When ballistic missile defense was about to become a reality, we made our voice heard and argued against it. We advocated aid to Africa, championed environmental reform and pressured senior levels of government to decriminalize marijuana. These are some of the Young Liberals’ proudest moments. Together, we can return to these days.

More from their Facebook group:

Simply put, we want change. We want to bring the OYL back to its roots, when it was a progressive, forward-thinking collective that challenged the status quo instead of conforming to it. The OYL used to be a force for positive change not only in Ontario, but across the country and at all levels of the Party. We can be so again.

As I said, I’m not totally immersed in the internal workings or goings-on of the Liberal Party, particularly the youth wing, but I remember well those resolutions on same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana by the youth wing, and I was (at the time a left-leaning not part of any party voter) impressed. This group says the OYL has strayed from that position of pushing for forward-thinking progressive policies and is instead conforming to whatever the main party advocates. I don’t know if thats true or not, but if it is, the Liberal party needs to have some prodding and pushing from those on the progressive side of the spectrum within the party that want to challenge the party with new ideas. It’s never a good thing when a party’s ideas and philosophy gets stale, so a little poking internally is a good thing.

Also, I look at the slate of candidates, and while I don’t know all of them personally, there are a few I have an association with from their blogging, and who I believe are pretty smart and thoughtful folks. Specifically, those would be Justin Tetreault, Danielle Takacs (both whom still blog) and Zac Spicer. I think these folks and people of like mind and ability on their slate would be very able persons to help run the OYL. I haven’t always agreed with them on certain positions they’ve taken (electoral reform in Ontario comes to mind), but overall, I like the positions they’ve advocated, and I think they and their OYL Roots team would do some good things for the OYL if elected.

As I said, advocating progressive ideas to a centrist party sometimes afraid to rock the boat is a good thing. At the very least, having ideas brought up to debate and discuss is a good thing. Therefore, for what it’s worth, I endorse the OYL Roots group and applaud their efforts in seeking reform to the OYL. I can’t vote for their slate of course, but there will be a lot of Liberals who read this blog (or at least read this piece through the Liblogs aggregate) that can, and I urge you to consider well the reasoning behind the formation of this group, as well as the quality of the candidates, and support this slate when the AGM in Hamilton happens.


6 comments to An endorsement of the OYL Roots movement.

  • I don’t know Chadd.. you’re trying to claim the OYL Roots team is going "backward" with their approach, but I’d rather they go "back" to the days when they were passing progressive motions like on missile defence and same-sex marriage – then be subservient tot he main Liberal Party, as it appears they are now. That isn’t going "backward", that is going "back" to the days when they were an effective organization.

  • Chadd

    While the OYL Roots team certainly has a quality slate, so does the OYL BEYOND team. This slate has experience combined with new up and coming young Liberals in Ontario who are full of energy and enthusiasm. Jacob has done a great job as President and he would do an even better job if he had the opportunity to have a second term given he would have a year under his belt. This team is all about going forward, building on the strengths of the OYL not backwards and that is what I support. Before you make up your mind, check out their website at

  • This post has brought back some memories for me of my OYL days Scott. I was there when the same sex marriage issue was being debated the first time and was defeated, then brought back later. Ahhh, the floor fight!
    The one thing I have to say I hope doesn’t happen of all the OYL Roots stuff, is that the two groups never make it personal. I know former OYLers who have worked together, or who got married to each other, or had kids together. I also know former OYLers who hold a grudge to this day over stupid things done and said in a moment of thoughtlessness.  A total shame, IMO.

    Anyway, I hope they do succeed. It was hella lot of fun back then, and they brought in and kept in a lot of good people who are still here to this day. Never discount the value of a good party to build a good Party!

  • The Liberal Bag

    Go Roots go!

  • Chris Sims

    What a great team the Roots have. I’m behind them 100%. It’s time for a change at the OYL level.

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