Olivia on the Hill: Weston, Davies and Mayes
CIVIX team member Olivia Dorey is meeting with Members of Parliament to learn about the presence of politicians in schools and how we can build and improve our programs.
Today’s blog recaps Olivia’s meetings with MPs John Weston, Libby Davies and Colin Mayes.
John Weston is the Conservative MP for West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country, and proud father of three teenagers. He deems himself very lucky to be the “conduit, custodian of the most beautiful community on earth.” He manages his riding “without fear of favor,” which is to say that it doesn’t matter if you voted for him or not, and hopes that his presence helps to cultivate leadership.
Weston does his best to support or attend at least one event per geographic, cultural, demographic, or issue-based “community” in his riding each year. Weston supports “Hey Day!,” an annual student-run volunteer and engagement fair, as well as an annual competition for grade 6/7 students in his riding called the MP Book Award to brand “good writing as cool!”
Libby Davies is the NDP MP for Vancouver East, which she has represented since 1997. Her constituency office is often visited by students and teachers. She is very active in the schools in her riding, and they often receive packages of political odds-and-ends that her office collects for them. She also offers a scholarship to one student in each school who is recognized by the staff as a great contributor to their community.
She is a strong advocate for more minority representation in parliament, and calls on those youth especially to become involved. Davies always strives to make politics, and more specifically committee work and the public service, real for people. She denounces Question Period and the portrayal of politics in the media as misrepresentative of the hard work done by MPs.
Colin Mayes is the Conservative MP for Okanagan – Shuswap, BC. He was elected as mayor when he was only 25 and completed his university degree by distance education upon the advice of the “hardworking people who had asked him to run.” He left office, and decided to join federal politics when his wife pushed him to bring his leadership skills to Ottawa.
Mayes is concerned that we live in a society where we are not politically literate, and is often incorrectly referred to as an MLA, and has even been introduced as the ‘Right Honorable’ (a title reserved exclusively for the Prime Minister). He hopes to help young people understand the challenges in governing a country this size, and won’t talk about which convictions made him choose the CPC as he calls on students to “do your own research, you can’t just vote like your parents do.”
He suggests that politicians are a reflection of the people that they represent, and while his faith is a huge part of his accountability, he believes that people are guided by different things, “none of which is more perfect than others.” It is his hope that young people will be guided by the spirit of service to uphold a virtuous society, by fulfilling their civic duties as well as enjoying their civic rights, and simply by asking, “why not me?”
Critical of the paradigm that “none of the political candidates or parties represents me,” Mayes has a very simple recommendation: get involved in the selection process of the candidate for the party which most closely reflects your values. It is through this process that you can mold the party in the image of your priorities and needs.
Stay tuned for more of Olivia’s meetings!
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