While national attention was focused on Joe Clark's political future at the Progressive Conservative National General Meeting, 20-year-old Keith Marlowe was elected PC Youth President on Aug. 24, 2002.
The former University of Calgary management student--who now attends the Public Relations program at Mount Royal College--ran on a platform of increasing youth involvement in politics and ensuring that a Progressive Conservative club exists on every campus in Canada.
"Canadian politics must be made relevant to young people," he said. "Canada needs young leaders to become passionate about the country and involved in shaping its future."
Marlowe was concerned about the current lack of Gen-Xers in politics. He attributed the shortage of middle-aged politicians to the lack of political involvement at the post-secondary level during the '80s--a trend that Marlowe said continues to this day.
"Young people today are more reluctant to get involved in the political process," he said. "We need to address that as soon as possible. The sooner we engage them, the more future leaders we have. Young people will soon be responsible for taking the reins and running this country."
Marlowe was disappointed with the lack of student involvement at the U of C. In the four years since the activities of the U of C Reform Party on Campus caused an uproar with the Students' Union, the number of political clubs has declined.
"To the students at the U of C: they need to explore getting involved in a political club on campus--whether it is the Progressive Conservatives or some other party--and participate in the debate shaping our nation and get involved in providing direction for our country. Campus clubs from the backbone of our organization," he said.
Marlowe has been active for many years in his Calgary Southeast riding and received critical support for his bid for the leadership.
"I have known Keith for six years and know of no other young person who has given so much of his time and talent to the political process," praised former Treasurer of Alberta Jim Dinning. "Along with an impressive team of dedicated individuals from right across this country, Keith is committed to building our next generation of leaders."
While post-secondary education is a provincial issue, the new leader of the federal youth wing is concerned about higher learning.
"Post-secondary education is absolutely critical. Post-secondary education is no longer an option, it is a prerequisite for too many jobs," he said. "A high-school education is no longer enough. There was a time when high-school diplomas was sufficient in the job world, now you need to upgrade the skills."
Marlowe wants to increase recruitment and involvement at high schools in addition to universities. On the issue of post-secondary education accessibility, Marlowe was generally opposed to differential tuition as a barrier to entry.
"I think that when you go to university a credit is a credit," he said. "In my programs, they always had uniform prices for courses. It doesn't make sense to tax people even more when they become educated."