In an effort to fulfill the Federal campaign promise to engage youth in politics, Saint Laurent’s Federal MP Emmanuella Lambropoulos and her special guest, Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould, spent over an hour answering topical questions from students at Lauren Hill Academy.
The young audience wondered about the MPs personal and professional lives. English Montreal School Board alumnus Lambropoulos described her tasks.
« When we are in our riding we have lots of meetings with local companies, groups and constituents. We take their concerns to Ottawa to our caucus – all Liberal MPs – to find answers, » she explained.
Lambropoulos also spoke of the different committees she is on to help ministers make informed policy decisions. She works on the Status of Women, finding ways to encourage their financial independence and on Veterans’ Affairs, to ensure there is support for their reintegration into society.
Topics of interest that have been studied during the year, including refugees, were also discussed.
« We are talking about people like you and me, forced out of their lands due to persecution or war. We should not refuse them due to fear, » Gould said.
The Burlington MP has found that the fears can be alleviated through communication. « Those with valid views should be heard and appreciated. I know that, if we are open, we might both understand each other and can come to an agreement, » she said.
A lighter moment came when she was asked about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. There was a clear air of interest when Gould explained that she sees him on a weekly basis.
Grassroots political involvement was also discussed. Lambropoulos, who is one of the youngest MPs ever, strongly encouraged youth to vote as soon as they are old enough to. « The laws that are being decided now are the laws that will govern your work and your lives, » she said.
She took the opportunity to speak about the Youth Council she has put in place in Saint Laurent. The group of 40 young people meet every month and plan youth events and social engagement projects.
She explained how the group does not just talk about politics. There is a 5@7 scheduled for February where teens can meet resources like Jeunesse Emploi and Centre ABC.