As part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to meaningful youth engagement, the North Vancouver Constituency Youth Council (CYC) was formed in October 2015. The CYC includes 13 youth between the ages of 16 and 25 from different schools, neighbourhoods, and local associations. The Council meets throughout the scholastic year to discuss a number of issues that could include the environment & climate change, transportation & infrastructure, and housing affordability, among other topics that matter most to the community.
On the one hand, the Member of Parliament will learn more about the views of youth from his region through discussions. On the other hand, young people can network with the other participants and better understand the Canadian political process as they take part in it.
Member of the North Vancouver CYC are tasked with determining the legislative priorities of youth in North Vancouver and to advise Jonathan Wilkinson accordingly. Members elect discussion topics and move on resolutions to be presented to the relevant Minister of the Crown. Council Members will perform community service projects in the spring and summer of 2017 as part of the council’s commitment to service initiatives.
Meet the Members of the North Vancouver Constituency Youth Council:
Throughout high school, Jamil Bhimji has been involved in leadership opportunities. He has had the amazing chance to coach basketball at the grade 7 and 8 level. This was his first leadership role and was a great place for him to gain the skills needed to lead in future situations. In 2015, Jamil attended the Encounters with Canada program in Ottawa. Here he met 100 other excited students that taught him valuable leadership skills and forced him to actively participate in these meetings. Jamil is a member of the Graduation Council and Student Leadership Council at Sutherland School where he is finishing his last year of high school. Jamil is overly excited to be a part of the North Vancouver Constituency Youth Council and to meet youth who are just as ecstatic as I am.
Thi Tran is a fourth year political science major in the French Cohort Program at Simon Fraser University. Born and raised in France, she is proud to be francophone and is a strong advocate for language and minority rights. She was recently selected as one of 338 others to be a Daughter of the Vote, a young women’s leadership summit initiated by Equal Voice, to mark 100 years of women’s involvement in politics. She will represent the federal electoral district of North Vancouver, in March 2017 to encourage young women to participate actively in elected politics and put forth policy ideas she is passionate about. She was also an enthusiastic club member of the SFU Young Liberals during the federal election campaign of 2015, to encourage students to vote. Over the course of her degree she has also participated in several provincial and federal francophone model parliaments for youths, to protect and promote the francophone communities in Canada.
Henry was born and raised in North Vancouver, graduating from Handsworth Secondary School in 2012. Today, he is currently finishing up his Bachelors degree at Simon Fraser University, and will finish with Honours in Geography and a Major in Economics. He is also an exchange alumnus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Henry specializes in economic and urban geography with an interest in international sustainable development and economic regeneration. Throughout university, Henry has worked for the Agricultural Land Commission, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, & Development (Global Affairs Canada), and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association. He is currently a Community Advisor with Simon Fraser University Residence & Housing, and Co-Chair of Simon Fraser University’s Geography Student Union. In both positions, he consults with respective members and actively works to build community. After his Bachelors, Henry hopes to complete a Masters Degree in Urban Planning.
Simon Bower is an 11th grade student at Argyle Secondary in North Vancouver where he continues to challenge his peers on civic engagement. Simon is a Petty-Officer Second Class with the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets with a specialty in leadership development. His service includes a total of 11 weeks of summer training courses aboard HMCS QUADRA Cadet Summer Training Centre. Simon is equally dedicated to youth engagement in the political process and actively engages promotes low-barrier to entry programs for progressive youth. Working with children aged 4 to 7, Simon spends his spare time volunteering with the West Vancouver Recreation Commission’s summer day camp program. He is excited to be participating in the North Vancouver Constituency Youth Council this year.
Hannah Macdougall actively involved in many youth groups, such as the British Columbia Youth Parliament, Vancouver Model United Nations, and the Duke of Edinburgh award. Recently, she started up a Duke group within her own school. Hannah also recognized the impact Duke kids can have and founded a club at her school. The group is composed of innovative high school students. Hannah volunteers her weekdays to clubs as a junior coach with the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club and Tyee Ski Club for the past 4 years. She is exciting to engage with likeminded youth from North Vancouver.
At her job as a supervisor at a business that employs large numbers of youth, Grace Dupasquier works with teens and young adults every day. What strikes her about the people she works with is how marginalized they often feel by the older people around them – and unfortunately, this isn’t just a case of teenagers feeling like no one listens. Grace often find herself reminding the adults around her that just because someone is young, that does not mean that their opinion counts for less, or that their concerns are not legitimate. Perhaps more worrisome to her is that I also have to constantly remind the young people around me that their age does not preclude them from being treated with basic respect. Grace does not believe this culture of youth disenfranchisement is doing anyone any favours. 19.4% of Canada’s population is between the ages of 15-29, and it makes no sense to ignore the youth demographic when trying to define policy. In Grace’s opinion, decisions made by politicians today will be directly shaping the rest of her life, and it is incredibly important to her that the government recognizes that. Grace hopes that by joining the North Vancouver Constituency Youth Council, she will be able to work alongside her government to develop policy that takes into account the needs of all of Canada’s citizens and recognizes that the future is just as important as the present, and deserves just as much consideration.
Teagan Sharrock believes that being involved in her local community is one of the most important aspects to being a well rounded person. She believes civic engagement teaches new and useful skills and unifies likeminded individual for collective change. Teagan frequents Squamish as an Outdoor School counsellor with elementary aged children for a week at a time. Here, the kids learn about the importance of nature and much more. From her experiences, Teagan has learned that being a leader lends you a power of knowledge from experience. She is excited to be participating in the North Vancouver Constituency Youth Council.
Andisheh Fard is the Coordinator for the Refugee Program at SFU International at Simon Fraser University. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science with International Relations from the University of British Columbia (UBC). She has worked with and volunteered for numerous organizations including the Commonwealth of Learning, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, UN Women in Afghanistan and the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect in New York City.
Hassan Merali has volunteered with many organizations for many causes, but a few are close to my heart. Hassan has volunteered in his ethnic Ismaili Muslim community in a variety of capacities, including leading his local Youth Clubs chapter for a year and a half; he has volunteered with Free The Children at several We Days, and alongside classmates overseas in the Dominican Republic, building homes and a basketball court for those in need. These endeavours that Hassan has participated in reflect his desire to give back to my community and do what he can to help those in need. More recently, as his awareness about the urgency of action on climate change grows, Hassan has given more time to Force of Nature and other organizations that are focused on issues surrounding the environment. To him, what a person does in their free time is indicative of their character, and he uses his to work towards social and environmental justice because those are the two things I’m most passionate about.
Sara Salarvand has been working with many international students with English speaking barriers through one-on-one sessions of English conversations throughout her BCIT school year and between work. Along with English conversations with students, Sara would help assess their projects, papers, and/or presentations. Subsequently, Sara has been working a little over a year to establish an energy-assessment business and has designed a system where a portion of sales created by clients will go towards the ‘Because I Am A Girl’ Project. Moreover, Sara is currently working on another initiative through her business to support the Vancouver community with environmental/sustainability concerns. She is passionate about giving back to the community and wants to be a part of serving Vancouver to become the greenest city by 2020. When Sara is not working, she enjoys plunging herself into nature, taking photos, and hiking.
Hailey Clarke is a passionate advocate for many issues that affect people and the environment in B.C., Canada and globally. In addition to her volunteer work, Hailey has initiated school-related fundraising campaigns for the Room to Read Foundation, participates in the debate club, and is the co-chair of her school’s Model UN club. As well, she is involved with many environmental groups including the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Hailey has also reached out to a much broader community through TEDxKids@BC 2016, where she was a speaker raising awareness of mental health and sharing techniques to overcome adversity.
Liam Olsen’s first foray into youth leadership came when he was 8 years old, when he fundraised over $2000 to provide aid to victims of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake. Since then, Liam has been involved in many initiatives in and around the community, from starting clubs at his high school, volunteering in the 2015 federal election campaign, to his election as Opposition Leader of the next North Shore Youth Parliament. Liam is currently a student at Carson Graham Secondary School enrolled in the IB DP programme.
Jacob Muir is a Student at Capilano University studying Global Stewardship. He is and active community member, involved with a number of societies including North Shore Restorative Justice, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, and the CapU Student Publishing Society. Jacob is passionate about community based development and values centered decision making processes. He believes that effective policy making for a country as diverse as Canada must involve not just recognizing differences, but understanding, embracing and implementing the wide range of perspectives that come from culture, socio-economics, and political identity. Jacob hopes to be able to help facilitate this appreciation of diversity through his values based community and political work.
The North Vancouver Constituency Youth Council will be accepting applications at the beginning of the 2017-18 scholastic year. Please contact Neil Parkinson-Dow at Jonathan.Wilkinson.C1B@parl.gc.ca or (604) 755-6333 for questions about this initiative.
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