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Trudeau government still trying to figure out national youth policy – National

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OTTAWA – Three years after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised a national youth policy, the federal government is still trying to determine what it should include.

Trudeau appointed himself the minister for youth in his cabinet in 2015 and in the following year’s budget promised a national youth policy to make sure young people’s needs and concerns are reflected in what his government does.

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In 2017, the government set up a committee of deputy ministers on youth issues, urging the top bureaucrats to bring young public servants to the meetings. The government also created a youth council in 2016, a special advisory group of Canadians aged 16 to 24, to help create the policy and started soliciting ideas for what belongs in the policy.

READ MORE: Young people can now text for mental health help through Kids Help Phone across Canada

They came up with a lot of suggestions. A briefing deck for the deputy ministers last June, obtained by The Canadian Press under access-to-information legislation, says that more than 1,200 participants participated in 40 roundtables across the country, 18 of which were hosted by youth-council members, and produced 9,000 ideas. Major themes included gender equality, Indigenous reconciliation and climate change.

This was something of a problem. “There will be questions of jurisdiction,” the briefing material says, noting that “a significant volume of ideas and issues fall within PT (provincial and territorial) jurisdiction.”

Also, the same slide says, “there will be expectations to manage … in the context of ambitious ideas and competing government priorities.”

READ MORE: Prime minister’s youth council split over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

In other words, not all these things are possible, or even the federal government’s business.

“In my opinion, they definitely did a good job of I think identifying broad topics based on what the youth had said,” said Riley Yesno, whose two-year tenure on the council ended in January. She’s a University of Toronto student, an Anishnaabe woman who grew up in Thunder Bay.

“My personal hope for it is it ends up having some sort of teeth or being more actionable because while I think the guiding principles that we established were really great … unless there’s really actionable items attached to those principles, it could just be another kind of paper sitting wherever,” Yesno said.

The timeline for producing an actual policy remains unclear.

READ MORE: No federal supports, funding planned for children caught up in opioid crisis

“We all know that the next elections are in less than seven months so there’s not much time to put in place that policy,” said NDP youth critic Anne Minh-Thu Quach Monday. “I’m wondering if the prime minister is just using the youth policy as a political token or if he’s really going to do something about it.”

When Quach pressed the prime minister’s parliamentary secretary for youth issues Peter Schiefke last week in question period, he responded he would have “good news to share … in the weeks and months to come.”

In an email, Trudeau’s spokesperson Matt Pascuzzo called the youth consultations a “first step,” noting that through discussions with the prime minister and cabinet ministers, the youth-council members have been able to more indirectly shape policy.

WATCH: Trudeau says legalizing marijuana will make it harder for youth to access drug







“This engagement is essential in helping our government identify issues important to youth and to find solutions that will improve the lives of young Canadians,” he wrote.

The file falls under the Privy Council Office. Spokesman Paul Duchesne said by email that the next meeting of deputy ministers is scheduled for March. The committee’s job is to “ensure a whole-of-government approach to youth initiatives,” he wrote and promote a youth perspective in government.

He didn’t say how far along the national youth policy is.

Planned spending on the work fell from $1.6 million in 2018 to just over $1 million this year, though it’s to rise again to $1.3 million in 2020.



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A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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