THE AVERAGE AGE in Kamloops is 42, as is the British Columbia average. So, at 55 years old, I’m at the point in my life, like many others, where well over half the people I encounter are younger than I am.
Whether it is my dentist or physiotherapist, financial advisor or spiritual advisor, sales clerk or mechanic, there is a good chance the people I deal with day-to-day are younger than me.
For the first time in my life, going into the federal election in 2019, the leaders of all three major federal parties, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, will all be younger than I am.
The tide is turning, and the younger generations are taking over.
So it was a surprise to me, if not others, that the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Conservative Cathy McLeod has decided to run again. She’s been elected for 10 years. Now 61 years old, it would have been understandable that she stepped down. The travel to and from Ottawa, the long days in the House, and the drudgery of sitting in opposition all would make it seem that retirement would be appealing. And yet she’s indicated she will run. Perhaps.
While I was expecting McLeod to step aside for a younger candidate, I was equally expecting Bill Sundhu, an eminent lawyer and former judge, to step forward to seek the nomination as the NDP candidate for the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo. Also aged 61, Sundhu has the experience of running in the previous federal election, placing just behind McLeod. He also has legal experience in B.C., across Canada and internationally, including the international criminal law, defending human rights defenders, and UN Working Groups.
It is a huge loss not only to the local NDP riding association that Sundhu is not seeking the nomination, but equally so for people in the Kamloops and area. Human rights is something of more and more importance every day. His voice will continue to be heard on human rights, but not in the next election.
Time will tell who will run for the NDP.
There have been no names put forward yet for the Liberal or Green candidates either.
Which leads us back to all those people under the age of 42. Now, more than ever, young people’s voices need to be heard.
Short of bold policy changes, climate change, or better named climate disaster, is coming. Young people have the most to gain, by tackling climate change head on. And the most to lose, if we don’t.
Canada’s demographics are changing, with more diversity, more urban, and more Aboriginal peoples. Younger people grew up in diversity and understand how it works.
The economy of the future hasn’t yet been defined, but to be successful, we need to be more than hewers of wood and haulers of water. Who better to lead us, than young people who understand the technologies that our economy need.
Whatever problems happen 50 years from now, I won’t be around. But there is a good chance those under 42 years old will.
I’m looking for young candidates to run, no matter their party, to represent Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.
Nancy Bepple is a former city councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.