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How can we build better connections between youth and our democratic institutions?
Local Democracy Week (LDW) was launched in November 2009 as a project of DiverseCity Fellows. Adapted from the UK model, Toronto’s LDW was designed to instill in youth a better understanding of the opportunities that exist for them to participate in local decision-making. Through interactive sessions with politicians, remarks from guest speakers, and building tours, students gain insights into the democratic institutions that shape their communities.
“I’m a firm believer that whether as leaders in politics, business or local causes it is our youth who will shape the future of our communities. We need to do everything that we can to encourage them to bring about change through positive means.”
- Steve Peters, Speaker of the Ontario Legislative Assembly
Featured program events have included remarks from former Toronto Mayor David Miller, Marc & Craig Kielburger from Free the Children, an interactive “Ask an MPP/Councillor” video booth with TV Ontario, Political Speed Dating with Toronto area MPPs and City of Toronto Councillors, a session on petition writing with the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, and a session with the Chief Electoral Officer on voter turn out.
“We heard inspiring stories that touched all of us and hit a soft spot. This was a great experience in order to learn a little more about democracy.”
- Channing Junor, LDW Youth Participant