2019 has been a rough year so far politically for many, and really with so much negativity out there, it’s easy to focus on that alone. Some days it’s really easy in fact. But this week has been a good example of why there is some hope out there and good things that are happening.
Earlier this week in Ottawa we saw Equal Voice bring 338 young women to Ottawa for “Daughters of the Vote”, which we talked about here earlier in the week. For my money, this event has become one of the most uplifting and soul-filling events to take place on Parliament Hill. When you listen to the speeches of these young women, you can’t help but feel renewed and better about what the future will bring.
But beyond events like that, it’s hard sometimes to find these positives in our communities and in our day to day lives. There are people out there doing good work, but our levels of overall political activism and participation are getting lower and lower as a society in general. Although sometimes a certain action will spark an activist flame, that takes hold and becomes a raging fire. We saw a great example of that something yesterday all across Ontario, as young people from all walks of life walked out of their schools to protests education changes and cuts coming from the Ford Conservatives. It’s the kind of student action we haven’t seen in Ontario in a generation and folks, it was a sight to behold. See for yourself, starting in Toronto:
In New Liskeard
Bay of Quinte
My old stomping grounds of Peterborough
The estimates from yesterday put the number of participants well over the 100,000 mark from all ends of this province. And despite Doug Ford’s cries that this was all cooked up by the different teachers’ unions, this was actually all organized by the students themselves. They did this will social media, networking and hard work and they all deserve a huge tip of the hat for the show of force they gave yesterday.
Now those protests came on the same day that news broke about Ontario looking to cut over 10,000 teaching jobs, forcing teachers to pass an annual math test to keep their licences (even if they don’t teach math) and then also a major review of the health system that could include, and I wish I was joking here, colonoscopies without sedation. Ford is proposing going for being a political pain in the ass to a literal one. Yikes!
It sounds like a lot of pain will be coming in the upcoming Ontario budget for sure, which leads me to believe that this won’t be the last time we’ll see such a protest in our streets. But if this week has shown us anything, it is that we have an amazing group of up and coming youth who are ready to speak up, be heard and be a part of the solutions going forward. If that’s not a positive thought going into your weekend, I don’t know what else could be. And for the Ford Conservatives, who think this might be a one-time thing, they should pay attention to history and the effects that engaged and active youth can have on our politics.