VANCOUVER (CityNews) — A teenager from Vancouver Island is seeking the Green’s nomination to be the party’s candidate in Saanich-South at just 17-years-old.
While Kate O’Connor is not even old enough to vote in an election yet, she’ll be running in one this year.
“I learned that the youngest MLA is 35. Which means no one under the age of 35 in British Columbia has someone who looks like them,” she tells CityNews.
“I am 17 currently and you just have to be 18 on general voting day. So I’m currently seeking the nomination and if I am the selected candidate, I will turn 18 on October 9th.”
But O’Connor is just one of several young aspiring politicians who’ll potentially be in this year’s race.
Liberal Candidate David Somerville is just 25-year-old and NDP candidate Tesicca Truong is 26.
“If we want to make decisions about a rapidly changing world whether that’s technology, the future of the internet, even the changes that are even coming because of the COVID pandemic, we need intergenerational leadership,” Truong says.
Stewart Prest is an SFU political science professor, he explains despite their young age, these young candidates have a chance at getting elected.
“Younger candidates, they clearly can win, and sometimes help their cause by mobilizing voters who traditionally have not been as involved in politics like younger sectors of the electorate,” he says.
While the three young candidates have different issues they would like to focus on, they all agree there’s an expectation from the public that they have more to prove.
“Young people are criticized for not being involved in politics and not being engaged. Then when they seek representation they’re told that they’re not serious that they’re too young,” O’Connor says.
“Some voices are going to question whether I’ve experienced, I’m old enough and I would say to them I’ve lived through an economic recession,” Truong says.
But for other young British Columbians, Somerville says if you’re not ready to put your name on the ballot yet, there are other ways to get involved.