Cornwall Community Connection Series: Empowering Youth in Politics 

community connections series

The St. Lawrence College Cornwall campus community and members of the general public are invited to hear from leaders who will discuss the engagement of young Canadians in politics. Speakers include Cornwall Mayor Justin Towndale, Senator Bernadette Clement, and SLC Cornwall campus Dean Richard Wiggers, Ph.D. 

From student governments, to municipal, provincial, and federal elections, the lives of youth are impacted by the representatives, parties and leaders that are elected. Traditionally, young people have been less inclined to register and vote than older citizens. Are those trends changing? How can we fully engage and empower youth in politics at all levels of our society? Questions will include whether the voting age should be lowered, voting be made compulsory, and more.  

This free event is open to the public; however, space is limited. Please register at this link.

Light refreshments will be served. 

When: Thursday, January 19 

4:30 pm to 6:00 pm 

St. Lawrence College, Cornwall Campus  
CSU Shark Tank, Aultsville Building 
2 St. Lawrence Drive 
Cornwall, ON 

Speaker Biographies 

Senator Bernadette Clement 

Appointed to the Canadian Senate as an independent Senator in June 2021, Senator Clement previously served as Mayor of Cornwall from 2018-2021, after serving three terms as a municipal councillor. Senator Clement is the first woman and first person of colour to serve as Mayor, and the first Black Canadian woman to serve as a Mayor in Ontario. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, as the daughter of a Trinidadian father and a Franco-Manitoban mother, Clement attended the University of Ottawa, earning degrees in both civil law and common law and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1991. She moved to Cornwall to begin working at what is now the Roy McMurtry Legal Clinic, ultimately becoming its executive director, and where she continues to work part-time as Senior Counsel with a focus on Worker's Compensation Law. 

Mayor Justin Towndale 

Mayor Justin Towndale was first elected to Cornwall City Council in 2014 and again in 2018. In 2022 he was elected Mayor. During his time on council, Mayor Towndale served on numerous committees including the Audit, Budget, and Transit Committees. This term he will be sitting on the Police Services Board and the Harbourfront Development Corporation Board. Outside of Council, Mayor Towndale is an active member of the Primary Reserve of the Canadian Armed Forces, serving with the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders where he holds the rank of Captain, and the position of Officer Commanding, HQ and Services Company. Mayor Towndale has also served on several boards including the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce, River Institute, Habitat for Humanity Cornwall and the Counties, and Sexual Assault Support Services of SD&G and Akwesasne. 

Richard Dominic Wiggers, Ph.D. 

Richard earned a doctorate from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and has held several past positions in provincial governments (New Brunswick and Ontario) in higher education policy, and in the federal government with a variety of ministries. He has also held a number of leadership roles in both the university and college sectors in Ontario and elsewhere. He joined St. Lawrence College in February 2020 as Dean of the Cornwall campus, and currently is also responsible for the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies and Pathways which promotes access to postsecondary education for all learners. 

About Community Connections 

SLC Community Connection Series reflects the College’s commitment to engaging with community while helping advance topics that are relevant to our students and our partners. SLC aims to collaborate on solutions while fostering relationships that help build thriving communities on and off our campuses in Eastern Ontario. 


St. Lawrence College is situated on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples; we are grateful to live and learn on these lands. With campuses in Kingston, Brockville, and Cornwall, SLC delivers education and training that meets the needs of community, industry, and employers. The College prepares students to succeed in the global economy through relevant, practical programs and experiential learning opportunities. SLC offers more than 100 full-time programs including diplomas, degrees, graduate certificates, apprenticeships, micro-credentials and life-long learning opportunities. Everyone belongs in the SLC community, comprised of 12,000 full-time students and more than 115,000 alumni in 75 countries around the world.


Media Contact:
Laura Tulchinsky
Communications Officer
St. Lawrence College

Julie Einarson
Senior Advisor, Communications and Government Relations
St. Lawrence College

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