Youth will have the opportunity to influence NDP’s priorities
The provincial government says it has found a way to give youth a seat at the table. Brittny Anderson, the Premier’s special advisor for youth, says the StrongerBC Young Leaders Council will give youth the opportunity to shape the government’s priorities, interact directly with ministers, and talk about what issues matter to them.
“I don’t want to assume that I know what the priorities are for youth,” Anderson said in an interview with the Martlet.
Applications for the council are now open and will close on Oct. 27. In a press release, the province said that a main priority is to have youth of all different backgrounds represented. The council will seek to include youth who are BIPOC, from rural areas, are 2SLGBTQ+, and have disabilities amongst its members.
“We’re really hoping that we have diverse voices so that we’re able to represent all of the youth, and not just certain interest groups,” said Anderson.
Members will meet quarterly, both online and in-person, and discuss priorities and policy. Different ministries may present topics for discussion, but Anderson said she hopes members will decide for themselves what to raise at each meeting.
Premier John Horgan is also looking forward to hearing the council’s ideas.
“The StrongerBC Young Leaders Council will have our government’s ear as part of an ongoing dialogue,” he said in the press release. “We want to know what matters most to B.C.’s youth and to make sure they have a say in building a stronger province and a brighter future for everyone.”
Anderson says that the initial priority will be for the council to get to know each other and their priorities. Then members can begin reaching out to their community and working with different ministries on those priorities.
“I’m hoping that we will have the opportunity that the youth will be able to speak directly with the ministers, and with the premier, at certain points,” said Anderson. “I know that a lot of my ministers have already reached out to me…and they’re really excited about having this youth council.”
Since being appointed as the Premier’s special advisor for youth in April, Anderson says she has spoken to youths across the province about their concerns and what they would like to see the government address. She says COVID-19 impacts and climate change have been consistent themes, along with racism, mental health, diversity, housing, and affordability.
Although the council is nominally only open to those between 14 and 26, Anderson says that if you are younger but have really strong ideas you should still apply.
“There is some flexibility there, if there’s a young rising star at 13, we certainly don’t want to have to wait till their 14th birthday to include them in something like this,” she said.
In the end, Anderson says she is just excited to get started.
“I’m just so excited for this process to really be underway and I encourage all young people from across the province to apply,” she said. “It would be fantastic if we had…students from UVic apply, students from all across the province apply, and that we’re really able to make sure that their voices are heard.”