I sat at the Liberal Party of Canada’s Biennial Convention in Ottawa this past weekend enjoying my breakfast with the more than 3,200 other Liberal delegates that had shown up (ps: that’s more than the Conservative and New Democratic conventions combined). I sat- kind of listening and kind of not- to the morning’s keynote speaker. As I watched this man initially fumble around the stage during his address, I was suddenly hit with a profound sense of urgency! “Listen to this him” I thought. “He’s talking about exactly you’re trying to do!”
That keynote speaker was Mr. Don Tapscott (Facebook, Twitter), a key architect in the 2008 Presidential Campaign for President Obama. Some of you are probably scratching your head and thinking “how in hell am I supposed to know who Don Tapscott is!?!”
Well, you’re right. You might not know who he is. If you’re like me and would have much rather indulged in your delicious bacon and egg platter that morning instead of listening to his address- you wouldn’t know.
Thankfully, the jacket I was wearing was getting to be a bit tight around the tummy- from endless Christmas meals- so I turned in my knife and fork, admitted defeat to my Biennial breakfast and shifted my attention to this seemingly un-interesting man. Praise jeebuss I did!
As he started to talk and work the audience, I was immediately drawn to his charisma, his ability to engage his audience, and the knowledge he was sharing about exactly what I was trying to do.
You see, I founded this organization as a means to engage more Aboriginal Youth in the Canadian political process. Now you may not know this, (and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out) but combating youth apathy in the Canadian political process has been a goal of every major political organization since, well… the beginning of political organizations- and ALYS is no different!
As he went on, he began to talk about “macro-wikinomics” (what?!?) and his wonky idea of “self-mobilization” among youth. He discussed the concept of being a “digital foreigner” or a “digital native” and I found myself totally and completely immersed in the ideas he was radiating my brain with.
Without giving much more away, I just want to say that this was, by far, the most interesting and relevant discussion that was had at the Biennial Convention. Yes, even more interesting than the discussion about legalizing/decriminalizing marijuana! It spoke to the revitalization of the party through youth engagement and self-actualization. His presentation spoke to the very heart of what now engulfs the Liberal Party of Canada: “fear of losing legitimacy and relevance”. His message was profound, his success obvious, and his ideas and plans to engage youth have enabled such organizations as the Democratic Party in the United States to bring about a revolution in the political landscape.
I encourage you to watch his full presentation and judge for yourself what needs to be done and why it’s important!