June 5th, 2018. The Youth of Today Society in downtown Whitehorse is packed tightly with youth from around town. Some are representatives of other youth centres such as B.Y.T.E., while others are here to have their say on a number of youth issues.
Today’s guest is Peter Schiefke, who serves the government of Canada as Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Schiefke has a great deal of passion for humanitarian and environmental causes, and has co-founded such organizations as the Concordia Volunteer Abroad Program and Youth Action Canada.
Today he is in the Territory specifically for the youth. Yukon is the last stop on a cross country trip that he has been undertaking for the last few months as part of the Prime Minister’s pledge to the youth of Canada.
“Now what’s really interesting, and the reason why I’m here,” he begins, “is that Prime Minister Trudeau is the first Prime Minister in history to also take on the role as Minister of Youth. And the reason that he did that is because he firmly believes that if we’re going to insure Canada’s success moving forward, we need to ensure we’re investing in the future of Canada, which is young Canadians.”
Schiefke’s journey is essentially a fact-finding mission. He has been travelling and speaking with youth from all across the country in order to find out what exactly is important to them, which political issues matter the most.
The youth present were able to open up to the Secretary. They shared stories of mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness, and of having their children taken away. They discussed issues such as affordable housing, the legalization of marijuana, and the much needed de-stigmatization of mental illness.
All in all, it was a productive meeting, one that will certainly give the Prime Minister something to think about.