Manitoban member of Prime Minister’s Youth Council urges RRC students to apply

By Maggie Wysocki

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a brief one-hour appearance at Red River College’s Exchange District campus on Wednesday for a meeting with the Youth Council, declining an interview from The Projector and all other media. MAGGIE WYSOCKI / THE PROJECTOR

Cell phone cameras snapped away as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau strutted through the halls of Red River College’s Exchange District campus on Wednesday afternoon.

But few students were able to catch a shot of Trudeau before he disappeared in a classroom for a private meeting with the Prime Minister’s Youth Council — an advisory board of 26 members that meets three to four times a year to discuss issues affecting youth.

“He was running behind so everything got shifted backwards and there was a hard stop on how much time anyone got to spend with him,” said Joseph Darcel, the only Manitoban member on the Youth Council.

“I could see there was a lot of surprise from the media too,” Darcel added, referring to Trudeau’s refusal to answer any media questions rather only allowing media to be present for the first minute of the meeting.

“There’s a lot more to talk about today specifically on youth service and Canada’s youth policy, which I’m so excited about,” Trudeau quickly stated before asking media to leave the room.

Prior to the Youth Council meeting, student journalists from The Projector camped out in a classroom for an hour with other members of local media. A bomb-sniffing K9 Unit dog inspected their belongings and the PM’s PR team assured media multiple times it would “only be another ten minutes” until they could go into the meeting room.

Yet nearly as quickly as media entered Trudeau’s presence, they were asked to leave again.

Marijuana legalization, the nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations people and the Canada Summer Jobs program were only a few of the questions RRC students had asked The Projector to discuss with Trudeau that went unanswered.

“I can definitely share what the meeting was about,” Darcel, 24, told The Projector during a phone interview when asked if he could disclose what was discussed at the Youth Council meeting.

“We talked about how the government will outline the youth policy in coming years and how we can ensure it will represent a diverse range of opinions.”

Despite Trudeau leaving The Projector with many unanswered questions, Darcel says the PM’s energy is infectious and he’s always pleased with the amount of time he gets to spend with him.

“(The Prime Minister’s Youth Council’s) been a transformative experience. I like to think I’ve been able to make a difference on my own and as a council we have a lot of really great things going for us,” the University of Manitoba microbiology student said.

Applications to be a member of the Youth Council are available for Canadians between 18 to 24-years-old, and Darcel urges RRC students specifically to apply.

“I cannot put enough exclamation points on that…. there’s always a shot it can be you next,” said Darcel.