Citizen engagement and research, 2008 and 2009
In partnership with the Canadian Policy Research Networks, in the fall of 2008 we facilitated a series of Deliberative Dialogue sessions with young people across Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as in Alberta and Ontario, to feed into the Government’s “Youth Retention and Attraction” Strategy.
We were so touched and moved by the passion that hundreds of young people expressed toward their province and it’s future. It reminds us that engaging young people in the democratic process is not hard, it just takes willingness to listen on the part of governments. In particular, the image of young man in Gander stands out. He nervously stood in the midst of one of the sessions, stuttering that he wanted nothing more than to stay in the province but he couldn’t find any work in his home town. He felt he had no choice but to leave his family, his home, and go to Fort McMurray to work. His voice shaking with emotion, he begged the government to find ways to offer options to young people like him. Moments like this wove through each and every session we facilitated.
All the sessions culminated in a provincial youth summit where youth across the province engaged in dialogue with decision-makers from across different sectors. Ideas were exchanged, values explored and trade-offs made in a process that was brimming with vision, heart and hope.
See the results for yourself.
~ Sheldon Antle, Policy Specialist, Department of HR, Labour and Employment, Newfoundland-Labrador Government