Quebec City -- In typical style, whether I'm heading to a wedding, smoke-up or NDP convention, I can't seem to check the train or plane schedules until the day before. So I just show up.
And how lucky I am. VIA bumps up my cheap-ass, bought-on-the-spot-at-Union-Station, comfort-class ticket to first class. Now I can stink up the bourgeois car.
Since I'm heading to an NDP affair, I consider the merits of a policy resolution to end classism on the federal rail system. You can imagine such a debate in the name of class warfare among the 225 politically astute and passionate 20-somethings attending the New Democratic Party of Canada Youth Convention on Thursday, September 7, the day before the regular convention.
Turns out I'm one of only two adults to purchase observer passes to the meet. The youths' well-thought-out policy resolutions, complete with plenty of Hugo Chavez references, are filled with fortitude.
A little naive, maybe. However, that's no reason for the party's adults to beat the political stuffing out of them.
None of the resolutions passed at Thursday's youth sessions, including nationalization of the oil industry and hands off Venezuela, go any further.
In the strangely named Reclaiming Canada's Role In The World session on Friday, youth delegates back a resolution aiming to create one standard age of consent for all sex acts.
Currently, teens can legally engage in missionary sex, it seems, but no anal. At the last minute, older party members rush the room to vote down the motion. I suddenly feel like I've stumbled into a Liberal convention.
Dana Larsen tries to tack an amendment "ensuring that the age of consent for anal sex be consistent with that of other types of sex" onto an LGBT resolution.
Some of the oldies have left , and t he room goes nuts in approval. A flash of orange cards second the motion as two runners at the front race out the doors to collect the delegates and bring them back in for another vote. The delegate beside me remarks, "That's so dirty."
I answer, "This room has been dirty now for two hours. Shine your elbows up. We're going into the corner hard."
She replies, "But we're NDP."
Oh, it's a polite political party. Everyone makes slights seem friendly by referring to opponents as "brothers" or "sisters."
The chair challenges Larsen's amendment, arguing that Larsen can't simply add a defeated resolution to another. The chair's challenge is barely upheld.
Then Vancouver MP Libby Davies tries the same thing with a reworded age-of-consent amendment. The whole matter continues into the next day, only to die on the list of items to debate due to time constraints.
A similar fate befalls Davies's resolution on cannabis, which has the approval of eNDProhibition, a wing of the party working to end the "war on drugs." It doesn't get aired, thanks to the ticking clock. So much stranding of resolutions.
I'm bummed that there will be no pot debate, but there is some cannabis commiserating. On the outdoor smoking patio, a few hash pipes get passed around a circle of delegates. Meanwhile, the bar inside is filled with New Democrats getting a drunk on.