Executive Council
June 2, 2015

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Paul Davis, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador:

Premier’s Youth Advisory Committee Gathers for First Face-to-Face Retreat

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in this Honourable House to celebrate the success of the Premier’s Youth Advisory Committee’s first face-to-face retreat. Last week, the Minister Responsible for the Office of Public Engagement and I had the opportunity to meet 21 members from throughout the province here in St. John’s.

The Office of Public Engagement led the weekend’s activities and reflections, which included exploring ways to collaborate and work more effectively together through public engagement. They discussed what it is like to work in the political system, and examined the committee’s role in the expansion of Bridge the gAPP, the app originally launched by Eastern Health earlier this year to help young people address critical issues such as stress, relationships, drug use and suicide.

Mr. Speaker, our goal in reactivating the Youth Advisory Committee is to empower youth, and to recognize they have a voice. As we discovered through last weekend’s event, the committee is already engaged in ensuring the youth voice is heard in our province.

For example, just days before the retreat, one of the committee members was a panelist on CBC Radio’s Crosstalk. He spoke eloquently about the importance of immigration, and how we all benefit from newcomers who view Newfoundland and Labrador just as passionately as people who have lived here their entire lives. Other committee members are pushing the public discussion in areas connected to their efforts as part of a number of sub-committees, including the costs associated with education, career guidance and planning, and diversity awareness and inclusion.

Mr. Speaker, upon meeting the committee, what impressed me the most is how each member wants to know how they can collectively make a difference.

It speaks to the strength of this committee’s convictions – and also to the calibre of the members – that various Provincial Government staff reached out to ask how they could incorporate a greater youth perspective in their work immediately following a presentation by these young people.

Mr. Speaker, as I referenced after meeting with the committee on Friday, this weekend retreat of 21 young people was an opportunity to see first-hand the passion, intelligence and empathy of our youth. We will certainly be looking to this committee as a valuable source of insight as we create plans and initiatives for the future of this province.

Thank you.

2015 06 02                                                                 1:50 p.m.