MPs Rachael Harder and Cathy McLeod visited TRU this past Sunday, March 3 for a small yet close discussion with students and non-students alike in an event hosted by the Student Conservative Club.
Harder is a conservative member of parliament and represents Lethbridge, Alberta in the House. She studied sociology at the University of Lethbridge then worked as a social scientist before becoming one of the youngest woman ever elected to the Canadian Legislature. She is also the first woman to ever be elected to her riding.
McLeod is our local MP from Kamloops, who graduated as a registered nurse from the University of Western Ontario. She is the former mayor of Pemberton and worked on several parliamentary committees.
Starting with a discussion on the current state of affairs of the federal government, Harder discussed the situation with SNC-Lavalin. The Quebec-based company has been accused and is under active investigation for bribing the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office was accused of interfering with Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould’s investigation into the corporation.
Harder said that the situation with SNC-L is “the straw that broke the camel’s back” for the Trudeau administration. Stressing that the Prime Minister’s conduct is “seriously wrong” and that the CPC is asking for Trudeau’s resignation, an RCMP investigation into the matter and criminal charges.
Harder then added that this isn’t the first time Trudeau has been up to misconduct with multiple trips to private islands with billionaires and the groping of a reporter contradictory to his claims of being Canada’s “first feminist prime minister.” She then added how Canada’s freedoms have been also eroded by Justin Trudeau’s house of cards. Saying that “freedom is being slowly hammered away by our government” with increasing taxes and restrictions on speech.
She went on to speak in great concern on bills like M-103, which she said give special privileges and favours to Islamic communities. She added that taxes and regulations are ”hindering our creativity” and handcuffing our energy sector with bills like C-69. Such attacks on our own industry growth “has never been seen in another country before and is unthinkable,” she said.
The conversation then shifted from current political discussion to how students and youth engage with politics.
“It’s hard for the conservative party to connect with youth. As public administrators, we need to represent the public and understand it better,” she said.
She then asked students to speak on ways that the Conservative party could better reach the demographic of ages 18-34. Discussed were better publicity campaigns and why Trudeau firmly had this demographic during the last election. Both Members of Parliament said that his legalization of marijuana was how he cornered the youngest demographic in this country, along with the bias of many media outlets and institutions.
“Most people at school don’t understand or have an interest in politics,” said an 18-year-old highschool student about people his age.
Harder also spoke on the fact that students feel they have to slant or curb their political views in order to pass classes.
“Very wrong for educators to push political views into their curriculum. Schools should encourage ideas debate and question them not force ideological agendas on students,” Harder said.
The meeting ended up being a great success for discussion. However, many questions still remained on how public administrators can reach out and represent the youth better in politics.
As Harder said “it’s the House of Commons, it’s for common people.”
UPDATE: A change was needed to clarify that Rachael Harder is one of the youngest woman to ever be elected to the Canadian legislature, but not the youngest.