NEWS: Jer's Vision and Dany Morin host the world's first LGBTQ youth & politician shadow day!

Check out this great article by 2B Magaine

Dany Morin hosts LGBT Youth on Parliment Hill for Rainbow Day
by Jordan Arseneault

Pairing young activists with Members of Parliament to live a day in the life of an elected official isn’t a new idea. Unless you’re pairing LGBT youth with out MP’s, as Dany Morin did for today’s Rainbow Day on the Hill (Journée Arc-en-ciel sur la colline)… 

Inspired by the Women on the Hill initiative that pairs young aspiring political women with female Members of Parliament, Dany Morin, MP for Chicoutimi-Le Fjord (NDP) organized Rainbow Day on the Hill (Journée Arc-en-ciel sur la colline) with four of his fellow parliamentarians. The all-day event took place in Ottawa today, with youth recruited by school outreach organization Jer’s Vision.

Morin, along with NDP MP’s Randall Garrison, Craig Scott, Libby Davies, Philip Toone, and Liberal MP Scott Brison, were teamed up with seven youth from all over Ottawa, including Ben Marmer, who was also featured in our February issue. Marmer was paired with Toronto MP Craig Scott and sat in on today’s Mayday question period in the House of Commons (from the balcony, but still). Marmer seems to have a pretty good understanding of what the connection is between front-line youth activism and the suit-clad shenanigans on the Hill:

If we don’t stir up interest for gay rights, and if we don’t make people interested in that, then people won’t demand that the government make changes,” Marmer told 2B. “Then it becomes the job of the MP to take action for their constituents,” he points out. Marmer is part of the Jer’s Vision Youth Advisory Committee, which hopes to establish a national network of Gay Straight Alliances. But how does he think can federal MP’s help teens in school?

There’s room for the federal government to step inoutside of the schoolyard almost as much as there is for provincial governments to step in inside of schools,” Marmer concluded, adding that cyber-bullying is an area where the feds could be of assistance, besides the usual cash allocations.

And Dany Morin couldn’t agree more. “There is an epidemic of cyber-bullying that is taking up a lot of space in the lives of youth, and can leave permanent scars,” says the doctor from Chicoutimi who is also the deputy LGBT rep for the Opposition. “There should be a law to combat cyber-bullying [and] I expect a lot more leadership from the current government,” he told 2B, adding that just funnelling money to the provinces isn’t enough.

When I started this day, I wanted to show young people positive LGBT role models,” he says, recalling how inspiring Libby Davies and Scott Brison were when he was thinking of going into politics. “We have never been so lucky as we are in 2012, to be able to be openly LGBT and have society accept us with open arms,” Morin concluded, certain that the day will take place again next year.