Young adults imagine Canada over next 50 years

TC Media
Published on September 2, 2014

Caitlin Taylor, 22, of Saskatchewan and Mitch gallant, 22, of St. Lawrence, P.E.I. were two of the young adults aprticipating in the conference.

©Guardian photos

The face of Canada’s future fills the Charlottetown building.

Some are young parents. Others are university students — or both.

There are also soldiers and entrepreneurs.

The group selected for a conference examining Canada’s future represents a true cross-section of young adult Canadians.

Conference co-host Peter MacLeod says 100 delegates, aged 19 to 24, were picked from 811 applicants with diversity in mind. They collectively represent numerous walks of life.

Half are men. Half are women. One-fifth is indigenous. A handful come from P.E.I.

Every corner of the country is represented.

“The only thing an applicant had to do was tell us their story of Canada and some of those stories were incredibly inspiring and some of them were incredibly harrowing,’’ says MacLeod.

“But what we were looking for is a group of delegates who were representative of the next generation in terms of their interest and their background and they just needed to bring a kind of good faith effort to be a part of this conversation.’’

Mitch Gallant, 22, of St. Lawrence, P.E.I., was keen to participate in the New Canada Conference, a flagship initiative of the celebrations commemorating the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference.

“It is important to me as a citizen to be involved, to be engaged,’’ says Gallant, who is studying to become a lawyer.

“Hopefully I can bring some P.E.I. inspiration to the larger voice of the project.’’

Caitlin Taylor, 22, of Saskatchewan feels passionate about being Canadian.

Taylor simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to apply to participate in a conference featuring leading experts sharing insight into several broad topics from civic engagement to Canada’s place in the world.

“I hope to come away with a more broadened understanding of Canada,’’ says Taylor, who works with a provincial tourism marketing program in Saskatchewan.

“Having a chance to speak with all these different people is a great opportunity to get to know my own country better.’’

The delegates will produce a 50-year public agenda listing the issues and ideas that Canada needs to address between now and the bicentennial of the Charlottetown Conference in 2064.

Delegates will present their “Ideabook for Canada’s Future’’ to local dignitaries and the public at the Confederation Centre at the conclusion of the conference Wednesday.

“We want to give delegates a very immersive experience and frankly to impress the rest of the country with how thoughtful this generation — and how prepared this generation — really is to tackle some of the issues coming down the pipe,’’ says MacLeod.