Youth council created by MP gives young Cape Bretoners chance to use their voice

·2 min read
Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway pitched the idea for a youth council last year as a way to engage youth and learn about what's important to young people in the riding.  (George Mortimer/CBC - image credit)
Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway pitched the idea for a youth council last year as a way to engage youth and learn about what's important to young people in the riding. (George Mortimer/CBC - image credit)

A youth council meant to engage young people in the democratic process has launched in Cape Breton.

Mike Kelloway, the Liberal MP for Cape Breton-Canso, introduced the idea of a youth council for the area last year, with applications to join the council ending on Oct. 31.

Anyone from the age of 15 to 24 could apply to be a member of the seven-member group.

Mitchell MacDonald, a second-year political science student at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, will serve as the council's chairman.

MacDonald, who is from Glace Bay, said youth are passionate about many issues, including climate change.

"If we're having conversations with friends or other students at our schools, we could take those perspectives, learn from other people, and use those to help inform Mike [Kelloway]," he said.

Getting involved in the community

MacDonald said working with the youth council is different than volunteering for a particular party.

"The youth council, it's more of a non-partisan thing, so I'm looking to get sort of a different experience with this than I would if I was volunteering in a partisan fashion," said MacDonald, who hopes to pursue a career in politics someday.

Mya Trimm, a Grade 12 student at Sydney Academy, is vice-chair of the youth council.

"I really like to be engaged in political conversations and I like to be following what happens and just really kind of engaging myself right from the start," said Trimm.

The group hopes to plan initiatives that contribute to communities throughout the federal riding of Cape Breton-Canso.

A chance to 'put our voices out there'

They also plan to gather youth perspectives on topics and report their findings to Kelloway when he meets with them.

Trimm said youth offer an important perspective on topics that need to be addressed in society.

"I think we're really lucky that Mike is offering us a chance to kind of put our voices out there, and not just us as youth, but kind of be a voice for the rest of our kind of generation," said Trimm.

The youth council is currently planning Earth Day initiatives for communities in the riding.

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