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One of the youngest councillors in Canada, at 18, was just sworn in on Vancouver Island


He has spent the past few years serving customers at the Crossroads Pub and Restaurant in Sayward, B.C., but now Kohen Gilkin will begin serving the public in another way.

At 18 years of age, Gilkin has just been sworn in as a village councillor in the northern Vancouver Island municipality.

"People are looking at me and thinking there's new blood, he's got new ideas, he's open-minded to new things," Gilkin said Wednesday.

Gilkin was one of seven people vying for four positions for village council in the recent municipal elections. It turned out he was the top vote-getter.

"I was very shocked. At the end of the night when it called out 126 I was just... I was in awe, I was very happy and I want to thank everybody who did vote for me," he said.

The 18-year-old is the third generation of Gilkins to live in the Sayward valley and he believes he's ready to champion the area's economy, which is strong on logging, but he would also like to see more tourism.

"It's a beautiful town. I mean, you go around anywhere and you can stop and take pictures, so I think me focusing on tourism especially is a big one," he said.

Once he gets some experience under his belt, Gilkin can foresee himself running as a provincial or federal representative and is encouraging other young people to become involved in politics.

"It is time for the next generation to step up and take over where our grandparents and parents left off, and I really want to push forward and try to empower some of the younger people my age, a little bit older, a little bit younger, to get involved" he said.

Gilkin also knows he's entering politics at a time when many are fed up with those who hold official offices.

"I want to see transparency," he said. "I want to see transparency with politicians and the civilians, we need to just focus on what we were elected to do, what people have used their civic duty to do in electing us to voice their concerns."  


An earlier version of this story misspelled Kohen Gilkin's last name. We regret the error. Top Stories

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