Why I’m writing about Canada’s youngest city council candidates

Photo: Barncales Hostel via Creative Commons.

Municipal elections are slated to occur all over our country on October 20. As someone that nerds out on politics at practically every level of government, I was curious to see how that intersects with the movements young people are championing.

Like a true millennial, I put out a Facebook post to some friends asking them if they knew any young folks running for office. It only took a few hours to have a list too big to handle. It was too inspiring to stay inactive, which is why this series is coming to you over the next month.

These articles intend to illuminate what it means to be a young person running for office. You’ll mostly hear from folks in British Columbia, with some guests from across the nation. These candidates have been selected based on ‘youthfulness’ — a vague term, I know. These folks have passion, grit and determination, and I’m excited to show you what it’s like to be a young person in politics.

As a primer for these discussions, I want to be upfront with my biases. I definitely have some. I’m the campaign manager for a Saanich City Council candidate and a volunteer coordinator for an incumbent in Victoria. You’ll hear from them (and some of their challengers) in this series.

For the locals following those candidates — my goal is to be as impartial as possible with the understanding that it’ll be hard to be perfect. Please feel free to comment and engage with each article and challenge both the candidates and myself on what you read.

As you might understand already, I believe in the power of young voices. I’m the co-founder of The Starfish Canada, and every year, we run a Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 program that showcases some of Canada’s top minds in the environmental sector. I also formerly worked for the David Suzuki Foundation and led youth-based leadership programs.

Despite both of those organizations being non-partisan, it might lead you to some other biases. I do have interviews scheduled for folks across the political spectrum, including someone who is pro-Kinder Morgan.

For those in my circles who cringed while reading that: I’d like this series to expand across our divisions to see where there’s common ground. As of late, it feels like society is often more divided than together. I invite you to see past those lines, to hear more about their perspective, and to respectfully (and critically) engage with this content. It’s that sweet spot of dialogue and conversation where I think we can make the most progress.

Lastly, and most importantly, I’m not a trained journalist. But I am someone who leans into civic engagement and youth empowerment in most facets of my work, and hope that expertise helps here in some fashion. I will certainly do as much fact-checking as time allows and truly invite corrections on my work. I believe in the power of community, even when it comes to what I’m putting out onto the internet.

To bring it back to the stars of the show: My wish is that the hope of these young Canadians trumps fear and that this series gives you a better view of these candidates. I often hear that youth aren’t civically engaged; that their apathetic attitude worries an older generation. I’m hoping this series proves that stereotype wrong.

Have an idea about someone I should interview, or questions I should include in these conversations? Let me know by commenting below.

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