Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Future Majority’s Thunder Bay hub is organizing a Zoom town hall to have an open discussion about the Green and Just Recovery Campaign, designed to address environmental, social and racial issues as the country’s economy emerges from COVID-19.
Future Majority is a national, a non-partisan and a non-profit organization that aims to mobilize young Canadians who are passionate about climate change, mental health and more affordable housing and education, to get involved in the democratic process to push for change. It is housed at the Ryerson Leadership Lab and is funded in part by the Catherine Donnelly Foundation, the McConnell Foundation, the Ivey Foundation, the Trottier Foundation, and the Jarislowsky Foundation, as well as individual donors.
Conal Jarvis, hub leader in Thunder Bay, said COVID-19 forced them to do all of the organizing online.
“We’re still doing social media outreach and reaching out to community organizations and local politicians. We’re going to present our list of hopefully 500 petition to local MPs Marcus Powlowski and Patty Hajdu. And we’re going to offer 10 people from northwestern Ontario a chance to ask questions of their MP and get some answers concerning issues centred in our Green and Just Recovery.”
The Green and Just Recovery campaign is Canada-wide, with 60 Future Majority hubs working simultaneously from Vancouver to Mississauga to lobby for a more environmentally friendly Canadian economy.
Jarvis said Future Majority is hoping to get more young Canadians aware of their political powers as well as informing them of the organization’s democratic goals.
“We’re looking to dismantle systemic racism,” Jarvis said. “We’re trying to shift the Canadian economy to at least a more environmentally friendly one. We’re looking to reduce the cost of tuition. And we’re looking for greater availability of mental health services.”
Riley Fredrickson, second year education student at Lakehead University and a volunteer for Future Majority, said she is doing community outreach to get politicians and other community leaders to come to the town hall to have an open discussion about what the youth are hoping Canada will look like post-pandemic and how it can be more equitable and greener.
“There are multiple town halls happening across Canada,” Fredrickson said. “Everyone in these hubs is working towards a common goal of organizing this town hall and having open discussions with community leaders and politicians.”
Fredrickson said COVID-19 forcing people into isolation made many realize that there are aspects of Canadian society which can be improved on.
“I also think that they start to realize that it’s really important for young people to have a voice as the largest voting block. We want to make sure that young people feel like they have a voice and that they are comfortable speaking about politics and hoping to enact positive change within that age group and demographic.”
According to a poll from Abacus Data, which specializes in polling data from the millennial population, about 70 per cent of young Canadians under 30 years want to see changes from the government post-pandemic. Many responded that a post-COVID recovery plan should focus on transitioning to a clean, low-carbon economy and effectively deal with climate change.
“I love to work with future majority because I see my hopes becoming a reality, which is really awesome,” Fredrickson said. “And it makes me really proud of the work that they do. I’m really grateful to be able to do that work alongside them.”