New generation to chart course for next 50 years

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100 young Canadians gather in city to define agenda to bicentennial year

Caitlin Taylor, 22, of Saskatchewan and Mitch gallant, 22, of St. Lawrence, P.E.I. were two of the young adults aprticipating in the conference.

Canada’s premiers have come and gone, the Fathers of Confederation players danced and marched their way up Great George Street, tall ships have sailed and another statue has been unveiled.

There is still more to come as one of the last and most important events of Founders Week wraps up today. To abridge a famous quote, the time has come to pass the torch on to a new generation of Canadians.

And that generation has gathered in Charlottetown this week as 100 young Canadians between 19 and 24 years meet to discuss Canada’s future and define an agenda for the next 50 years.

The delegates were chosen from more than 800 hopefuls anxious to debate a very serious topic. The New Canada Conference is a key initiative of the celebrations commemorating the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference co-ordinated by P.E.I. 2014 Inc. Young delegates are here from every province and territory, and represent various interests and diversity of a new generation of Canadians. The conference is more than a symbolic followup on the Charlottetown Conference of 1864 where 25 delegates met to begin discussions on the creation of the Dominion of Canada. This week’s forum seeks to challenge the imagination of this new generation of Canadians to help write the next chapter in the Canadian story. The delegates will hear from leading experts in eight subject areas to produce a 50-year agenda listing the issues and ideas that Canada needs to address between now and the bicentennial of the Charlottetown Conference in 2064.

P.E.I. delegate Mitch Gallant, 22, of St. Lawrence is hoping to bring some P.E.I. inspiration to the project and gain a broader understanding of Canada while a Saskatchewan delegate wants to get to know her own country better.

Delegates will present their ‘Idea book for Canada’s Future’ to local dignitaries and the public at the conclusion of the conference today at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

Organizers and officials with P.E.I. 2014 Inc. deserve congratulations for the conference. Oftentimes, we are too caught up in history with these milestone celebrations and don’t pay enough attention to the future. The 100 young, bright minds who have been meeting for three days should have some very interesting and unique ideas for the future direction of this country.

  It should be a very interesting presentation today. Let’s hope politicians at all levels are paying attention.

City on youth binge

The City of Charlottetown is also spotlighting the importance of youth in this anniversary year during a two-day celebration designed to offer fun activities that youth may not typically be able to access.

The event for youth aged nine to 18 years takes place Sept. 26-27 as part of the city’s 150th anniversary celebrations of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference.

Mayor Clifford Lee said he wanted to involve and engage youth in these sesquicentennial celebrations so the city is providing experiences in sport, recreation, art, dance, film and music through activities youth may not typically have exposure or access to.

 It certainly is an action-packed two days of activities with opening and closing ceremonies open to all members of the public.

Deputy Mayor Stu MacFadyen is the driving force behind the celebration and he has recruited an impressive number of groups and supporters to come forward. All activities are free for youth 18 years and under.

Many 2014 events are winding down with the end of Founders Week, with the popular Celebration Zone wrapping up its 70-day run of free events on Sunday with the Men of the Deeps performing.

Organizations: Dominion, Confederation Centre

Geographic location: Canada, Charlottetown, Great George Street Saskatchewan

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