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Ontario Young Liberals: Time to work together and listen to one another.

The Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Young Liberals took place this weekend in Hamilton in the midst of one of the bigger snowstorms in recent memory – but I understand most if not all delegates got there – a credit to their commitment to politics and this meeting. As some of you who read here know, elections were also taking place to fill different OYL positions, and the elections have been contested by 2 different slates – OYL Beyond and OYL Roots. The former preached that the status quo was just fine, while the latter (who I supported) believed change was needed in how the OYL was run. It’s […]


The OYL Election: Some endorsements for the OYL Roots, and some more shenanigans.

This weekend, the Hamilton Annual General Meeting finally arrives for the Liberals, as does the elections for the various Ontario Young Liberals positions within that group. There have been some interesting events going on since I last talked about that topic.

First the good stuff: There’s been some very nice endorsements for the candidates running under the OYL Roots slate, as well as the OYL Roots slate in general. These include individual endorsements from such luminaries as Bob Rae, George Smitherman, and a wide variety of MP’s, MPP’s and various young Liberals both within and living outside Ontario (as an aside, I kind of wish this was put at the […]


Liberal Random Thoughts: Apologies to Iggy, and more OYL Shenanigans

– I wanted to say I was kind of pleasantly surprised to see that Michael Ignatieff is one of the “hawks” inside the Liberal caucus who were urging the caucus to bring the government down. I had thought after the Afghanistan issue and his role in helping to craft a compromise on that position to the Cons. that he must be one of the doves, so my public apology to Mr. Ignatieff for thinking that, and kudos for being one of those inside that caucus who has a spine. It doesn’t say much for the rest of the caucus or “election readiness team” (which appears to be an oxymoron) if […]


Warning: More internal Liberal stuff – OYL Beyond forms.

As you know, I endorsed the OYL Roots slate in a blogpost a few days ago when discussing the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Hamilton and the scheduled elections for the Ontario Young Liberals. I find it only fair to mention that the rival slate has formed their own group, and it’s called OYL Beyond. They also have a Facebook group you can check out.

I said before I was endorsing the OYL Roots group because I liked their statement about taking the OYL back to a time where it had more autonomy and it was aggressive in pushing forth policy endorsements that the main Liberal Party may not have come around to if it wasn’t for the Young Liberals being very aggressive and very progressive (ie on same-sex marriage and opposing joining the US missile defence system). I’m going to be gently critical of the OYL Beyond group here and say I find their mission statement to be in contrast with the OYL Roots folks very general and very vague and a bit fluffy. I mean, it’s great you had an amazing Summer Fling in North Bay, but I’d kind of like to hear a bit more substance then that.

I also take issue with some OYL Beyond supporters coming here and elsewhere saying that the OYL Roots group is “negative” and going “backwards”. With regards to the “backwards” charge, it isn’t going “backward” in my view, they wish to go “back” to the days when they were an effective organization at having their voices heard on policy. As for being “negative”, there’s nothing negative about pointing out how things used to be and how they feel things were better at that time then they are now. Ironically, I’d say that charging the OYL Roots group with going “backwards” is being “negative”.

With all that said, I have a word of advice to both groups in the OYL, for what it’s worth. Don’t get too publicly bitter with your rivals, win or lose, because you’ll have to work with each other after the elections. We don’t need a carbon copy of internal squabbling as has been the case at times in the big party, when the goal is to beat Harper. Both slates need to remember that, particularly when there is the possibility that you’ll have a mixture of the 2 slates elected to the various positions.


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.

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