Canada’s future belongs to youth, Dallaire tells UTSC students

Senator Roméo Dallaire didn’t let a little bad weather stop him on Wednesday night.

The retired general was more than two hours late for his presentation to students and faculty at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus, where he talked about getting youth excited about building Canada’s future.

“In 2017, it will be the 150th anniversary of Canada, and it will be the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge,” Dallaire said. “And what do we have planned?”

While they waited in the packed lecture hall for Dallaire, who was the speaker for the 35th annual Watts Lecture, attendees watched Hotel Rwanda. The movie is based on true events that took place during the civil war in the African country, events Dallaire witnessed firsthand while on tour for the United Nations.

Senator Roméo Dellaire shares one of his experiences during his service in Rwanda.

[audio:http://www.torontoobserver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Dellaire-Audio.mp3]

During his talk, Dallaire spoke on a variety of issues, including nuclear disarmament and youth participation in politics.

“The youth represent 35 per cent of the population that can vote and yet barely 15 per cent of you voted in the last election,” he said. “You hold the balance of power in your hands. If you vote, you could change the face of this nation.”

Two days before the Tory government was brought down by a non-confidence vote in Ottawa, Dallaire also asked students if they were members of political parties.

In order to change the world, he said, women must be empowered and everyone must get education.

Dallaire also touched on the situation in Afghanistan and Canada’s role there.

”The soldier death toll is probably closer to 190 because they’re coming back and committing suicide due to post traumatic stress disorder,” he said.

Dallaire added that he wants to see more accountability on the part of the media.

“Why is it that they can’t handle covering several stories at the same time, they only come by the plane load when the slaughter starts,” he said.