Kelowna-Lake Country MP hears directly from young people

Stephen Fuhr held the first meeting of his constituency youth council in Kelowna last week and electoral reform is not high on its agenda

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr (fourth from left) with members of his constituency youth council.

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr has held the first meeting of the constituency youth council he pledged to form during last year’s election campaign.

The council is made up of 11 young people, aged 15 to 24. Fuhr said many of them have never been involved in politics and said they do not necessarily have an interest in politics going forward, but they want to voice the concerns facing youth here to their local MP.

“Getting our young people actively engaged in the political process is what the prime minister had in mind when he convened the Prime Minister’s Youth Council and asked all Members of Parliament to convene their own (councils),” said Fuhr in a news release.

The first topic discussed by the local council was electoral reform and what the young people would like to see in a revamped electoral system.

“To my surprise, most of the participants indicated that electoral reform doesn’t even make it to the top 20 issues facing youth in Kelowna-Lake Country,” said Fuhr.

“While some views were shared about proportional representation, ranked ballots, mandatory voting and the age of voting, electoral reform was seen as less important than youth employment, the environment, health care, education, and the housing crisis.”

He said the youth council also discussed the role of government, the jurisdictions of different levels of government and the role of an MP, the Prime Minister and the Governor General.

“Going forward, I’ve asked my council to talk to their families and peer groups about the issues important to them and to report their findings back to me for further discussion at our next meeting in February,” said Fuhr.

The local Liberal MP is encouraging all young people in the riding, whether a member of the youth council or not, to share their ideas and contribute to what he called a “more responsive and inclusive government.”

Ideas can be sent to Fuhr at  Stephen.fuhr.c1@parl.gc.ca and anyone can follow the federal government’s progress on youth issues by following #youthmatters.