On Friday December 1st, my Willowdale Youth Council participated in two roundtable debates with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (MIRR) and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).
Our first stop was at MIRR where the Youth Council were given a tour of the Deputy Minister’s office. We participated in a smudging ceremony to start off our meeting. We were joined by John McKenna, Alex Oakes and Jacob Israelson, MIRR Senior Policy Advisors, and Nicole Paroyan, MPP Liaison, to steer the discussion on youth and mental health in Indigenous communities. The youth drew some powerful discussion on the effects of intergenerational impacts, leading causes of social anxiety, and various taboos of different cultures. The MIRR team challenged the youth to delve into their own thoughts and come up with possible solutions to elevate awareness of youth and mental health across all communities.
After lunch, the Youth went down to MOECC to go head-to-head with policy staffers on the cap-and-trade system. The group was divided into two – the pro team was lead by Ally Datoo, MPP Liaison, and the opposition was lead by Lucas Malinsowski, Director of Communications. Each team was given three minutes to state opening arguments and then we were off! The first team stated their argument and the opposing team were quick to present their rebuttal. Excellent points were made on the advantages of using a cap-and-trade system and how it would fuel our economy while simultaneously cutting down greenhouse gases. The opposition did an excellent job raising concerns on the potential risk for anxiety in the business sector. This was a very fast-paced debate and many strong arguments were made. In the end, the youth all agreed that cutting down greenhouse gas emissions and preserving our planet was the number one priority.
Great job Willowdale Youth Council! Looking forward to an exciting year ahead with you in 2018.
*Pictured above are members of our Youth Council, Sergio, Frank, Xiong Xiong, Ainsley, Taylor, and MOECC staff Lucas Malinowski, Director of Communications (far left) and Ally Datoo, MPP Liaison (far right).
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