Catherine Fournier, the youngest person to currently sit as a Member of the National Assembly of Québec and the youngest female to ever be elected to the body, came to Vanier College on February 28 to give a lecture on youth engagement in politics. She was elected to the National Assembly in a by-election on December 5, 2016. She currently represents the south-shore electoral district of Marie-Victorin as a member of the Parti Québécois.
She called on the youth to engage in politics and change things for the better because they have the power to do so and to make a positive impact on our society. Her goal was to convince young people of this fact.
She said that, contrary to what most of them believe, young people can bring about a positive change in society. She spoke about her own political experience, her role as a member of the National Assembly and the book she wrote calling on youth engagement, L’Audace D’Agir (the courage to act). She explained how young people form the age group that votes the least in elections compared to the other age groups. She further added that this leads governments to make choices that go against their interests, which also leads to an increase in cynicism amongst young people. So, that is why the youth must take their place in society and in politics, to be able to see their convictions and their ideas become a reality. If young people take their place and make their voices heard, they will bring about concrete change and help establish a better society for themselves and others, while also breaking a vicious cycle of mistrust and cynicism that is too widespread amongst the population in general, but especially amongst the young segment of the population.
It was a very important and positive message that she passed on to the students of Vanier College. Her conference transcended any partisan politics and spoke to students of all backgrounds and origins. The students listened attentively as Catherine spoke. The students were delighted to hear her talk as she spoke of Quebec and its youth with so much delight and passion and with so much hope. As well as, they understood that they can have a place in politics and that they can make a difference.
Written By: Mohammad-Afaaq Mansoor and Lara Kaafarani