Young Liberals of Canada
|Abbreviation||YLC / JLC|
|Motto||Change Starts With Us|
|Headquarters||81 Metcalfe Street
|Liberal Party of Canada|
|Affiliations||International Federation of Liberal Youth|
The Young Liberals of Canada (YLC) is the national youth wing of the Liberal Party of Canada. All members of the Liberal Party, who are aged 25 and under, are members of the Commission of the Young Liberals. The Young Liberals of Canada are the largest political youth organization in Canada. It has been estimated[by whom?] that the YLC has nearly 60,000–80,000 members at various periods, and has a presence in nearly all of Canada's 338 ridings.[dubious ] The current President of the YLC is Mira Ahmad.
In an attempt to attract young liberal supporters for his leadership bid, Pierre Trudeau campaigned on the promise of reserving specific number of delegate spots at national conventions to young liberals. Trudeau went on to win the party leadership, and YLC was allocated specific number of delegate spots in each riding association and in accredited campus liberal clubs.
YLC wielded unique influence in the party’s leadership selection as it controls the accreditation process of campus clubs. YLC clubs had been fierce battlegrounds during federal leadership races from the early 80s to 2006. The Paul Martin leadership campaign was particularly notorious for hostile take over of campus clubs leading up to the 1990 and 2003 conventions. YLC's influence in the leadership selection process was greatly diminished in 2009 when the federal party changed its constitution to elect its future leaders by a "weighted One Member, One Vote" voting method.
YLC has also sometimes been a source of embarrassments and scandals for the party.
- In 1997, Jim MacLaren, president of the BC wing, misappropriated $30,000 from the federal party's coffers, and was later convicted of fraud.
- In 1999, several drunken Young Liberal delegates attending a convention in Victoria smashed up a couple of hotel rooms. The Liberal Party was sued by the hotel and settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
- In 2000, Jesse Davidson, president of the Ontario wing, faced one count of fraud over $5,000 and 23 counts for allegedly drewing money from the party’s bank account by forging the signature of a former treasurer. The charges were dropped in 2011 in exchange of Davidson agreeing to repay some $7,000 that he withdrew from the party's bank account.
- In 2007, a former president of the BC wing, Erik Bornmann, was implicated by the investigation following the BC Legislature Raids, and served as a key witness in a trial that pertains to the scandal.
- In 2015, YLC-BC President Linda Ching was discovered to be the daughter of Cheng Muyang, a fugitive wanted by Interpol. Cheng is believed to have helped his daughter secure the position of president. After Cheng's fugitive status became publicly known, Linda Ching quietly called an election, but did not resign.
In many policy areas, the Young Liberals have been more progressive than the party as a whole, taking a pro-same sex marriage position as early as 1994. The Long-Term Commitment to Africa Policy, the Commitment to the Kyoto Accord Policy, the Protection of Sex Trade Workers Policy, Canada Post-Secondary Education Transfer Policy, and the Same-Sex Marriage Rights Policy planks of the Liberal Party of Canada all originated as YLC policy. At the most recent Liberal convention, policies espoused by the YLC include a commitment to an activist foreign policy, focusing on conflict resolution and the promotion of peacekeeping, combating global poverty, the creation of an international convention regulating the global trade in small arms and light weapons and munitions, a commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and promotion of low emissions vehicles, the implementation of a refugee appeal board, the Legalization of Marijuana, the creation of a Ministry of Post-Secondary Education, the elimination of post-secondary tuition fees for second official language courses, promoting and protecting safe-injection sites, and the creation of a National Volunteer and Work Experience Program. The 2005 decision of the Paul Martin Liberal government to not enter into the American missile defence program was in part credited to opposition in the Young Liberals to the program.
The Young Liberals of Canada have dozens of Post-Secondary Institution Young Liberal clubs throughout the country. Post-secondary school clubs are organized and run by provincial or territorial organizations and must be accredited by the National Executive of the YLC. Each accredited club may send delegates, with voting rights, to provincial, territorial, and/or national conventions and conferences for both the YLC and the Liberal Party of Canada.
Relationship to the party
The Commission of the Young Liberals of Canada, therefore, promotes the perspectives, policies, and ideas of Liberal members who have not yet celebrated their 26th birthday. It is not a separate entity from the Liberal Party, but is rather a part of it. The YLC mirrors the structure of the Liberal Party of Canada. There are Provincial and Territorial Organizations, which administer themselves according to their own bylaws. There is also a National Executive that runs the affairs of the entire YLC. The organization binds together provincial and territorial Liberal Youth organizations. The YLC does not always agree with the Liberal Party of Canada. In fact, the YLC often pushes the larger membership of the Liberal Party to adopt new policies that may be viewed as too radical or challenging. In order for the YLC to promote and push a policy for the entire Liberal Party to adopt, it must be an official YLC policy, properly adopted at a Policy Convention. Therefore, The YLC and Liberal Party of Canada often do not agree, or have not passed the same resolutions, at any given time.
The Young Liberals of Canada, in response to Conservative TV and radio attack ads, ran the Hi.im.a.liberal.ca internet video campaign, a spoof of the Mac/PC ads, which garnered media attention for its novelty, as well as the Red Revolution campaign, focusing on the “taking Canada back” by improving youth involvement in politics and the Liberal Party. The Young Liberal "Explain the Tape" event in downtown Ottawa gained national attention, being featured in national media such as CBC Newsworld and Macleans magazine. The Young Liberals additionally ran the Go Green, Vote Red initiative, reaching out to environmentalist voters and promoting the Green Shift/Carbon Tax proposed by the party. Most recently, in May 2010, they launched a campaign in opposition to Bill C-391 and in support of the federal long gun registry.
Prominent former members
YLC has proven to be a training ground for budding politicians and political organizers. Many elected officials played prominent roles at the party’s youth wing. They include:
- Jean Chrétien, former Prime Minister (served as young liberal president of Université Laval)
- Stephen Harper, former Conservative Prime Minister
- Michael Ignatieff, former federal leader (served as national youth organizer)
- Denis Coderre, current mayor of Montreal, former Liberal MP, and former federal minister (as president of YLC's Quebec wing called for the resignation of Leader John Turner)
- Dwight Duncan, former provincial minister (served as aide to Herb Gray, contested the presidency of YLC's Ontario wing)
- Rob Oliphant, current federal MP (served as executive member of YLC's Ontario wing)
- Bonnie Crombie, current mayor of Mississauga, former federal MP (served as student director of YLC's Ontario wing)
- Ruby Dhalla, former federal MP (served on YLC national executive)
- Scott Andrews, former MP (served as YLC National Vice President, and contested YLC's presidency)
- Christy Clark, Premier of BC (served as National Director and young liberal president of Simon Fraser University)
The National Executive of YLC consists of the following table officers and the president of YLC various provincial/territorial wings.
- Mira Ahmad (President)
- Jamie Benoit (Executive Vice-President)
- Zoe Ferry (Vice-President, Organization)
- Erin Brown (Vice-President, Policy)
- Alexander Cohen (Vice-President, Communications)
- David Friedland (Vice-President, Finance)
- Samuel Lavoie(2009–14)
- Cory Pike (2006–09)
- Richard Diamond (2005–06)
- Ann Takagi (2003–05)
- Veronique de Pasillé (1998-2003)
- Bruno Roy (1996–98)
- Greg Fergus (1994–96)
- Michel Chartrand (1992–94)
- Charles Boyer (1990–92)
Past National Directors:
- Alyx Holland
- Keith Torrie
- Adam Miron
- Scott Pickup
- Melanie Cameron
- Denise Brundson
- Adam Brown
- Tyler Banham
- Jamie Innes
- Mark Watton
- Fred Gaspar
- Christy Clark
The organization is a member of the International Federation of Liberal Youth.
- Paterson, Jody (January 9, 2004). "Liberals will have to wear fallout from raids". Times Colonist. Victoria: Postmedia Network. section A, p. 3.
- Di Matteo, Enzo (September 21, 2000). "Forgery charges dog Grit". Now toronto. Toronto.
- Di Matteo, Enzo (March 15, 2001). "Jesse Davidson walked away". Now toronto. Toronto.
- "More warrant information released in B.C. Leg. raid". The Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2007.
- "Former B.C. lobbyist Erik Bornmann to seek adjournment at law society hearing". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved January 5, 2007.[dead link]
- "Aide sold BC Rail data: RCMP allege". The Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2007.
- "Two former government aides charged". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. December 22, 2004. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2007.
- Crawford, Alison (May 21, 2010). "Liberals fire shots at NDP over long-gun registry". Inside Politics Blog. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- Ryan, Carolyn. "Stephen Harper and the road to power". Canada Votes 2006. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
Trudeau was one of the young Stephen Harper's earliest political inspirations, in fact. Admiration for the then-prime minister led him to join the Liberal student club a friend founded in the mid-1970s at Richview Collegiate in Etobicoke, Ont.