Pushed aside

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Is it any wonder that the majority of young people all across this country have no interest in politics and many never cast a ballot. The official deadline for candidates seeking the provincial Tory leadership to submit their names and meet the criteria — including paying a hefty fee of $10,000 and collecting enough nominees who are members of the party — is this week.

As of early Tuesday, there were two west coasters who have made it known they will be running to win the leadership in early July, and therefore, become premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

One is businessman Bill Barry, well known across the province for his involvement with the fishery. The other is Clarence Cantwell, a 22-year-old who holds down two full-time jobs and shows a rare interest in politics for one so young.

Cantwell is taking his candidacy seriously, but it seems others are dismissing him out of hand. This past weekend on the provincial political show “On Point with David Cochrane” the discussion was about who was running for the PCs, who wasn’t running and who might still want to take a shot at the top job.

All those names mentioned were handled with serious discussion, except Cantwell. He was dismissed as insignificant ... including a resounding giggle about him paying his registration fee this week if he can “sell his car.”

Instead of encouraging young people to become involved in the political process, they get no boost from the esteemed panel on CBC. There is little doubt that Cantwell is a David in a political race with Goliath — but he seems willing to put his money, his time and his talent where his mouth is. Let’s hope he is serious about this and enters the race, proving skeptics wrong.

He obviously thinks he has something to add to the debate, and instead of being patted on the head and ignored, he should be applauded by the party, convention delegates and especially political pundits.

Young people feel they have nothing in common with politicians or politics in this country — and it isn’t difficult to see why.

Organizations: On Point, CBC

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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