Saanich's 19-year-old councillor enthusiastic about first 6 months in office
Published Monday, May 6, 2019 4:05PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, May 6, 2019 5:22PM PDT
At just 19 years old, Ned Taylor has already experienced the highs and lows of politics.
His first run at an elected position, during a byelection, failed. He was 18.
When Taylor went for it again, in the 2018 municipal election, the neophyte handily won a spot on the District of Saanich Council, becoming the youngest Saanich councillor and Capital Regional District director ever.
Taylor believes his youth is an asset, not a drawback.
"I think it's about having a diversity of perspectives. I might not have a home, or pay property taxes, like many people do in my municipality. but what I do do is use transit to get to and from work. I am someone who has been affected directly by the housing crisis, so those were some perspectives that I could bring to the table that were a bit different from other people's," said Taylor.
It was precisely those issues, affordable housing, transportation and climate change which drove him to politics at such a young age.
"When we talk about those big issues which affect the region and the world, I wanted to make sure there's a young perspective at the table, to have those discussions as well," he said.
The more he talked about municipal politics, the more enthusiastic he became, especially when talking about some of his early accomplishments.
At the top of the list is the successful motion he set forward with colleagues, to declare a climate emergency and commitment to carbon neutrality in the region by 2030.
"That was a pretty big motion, and that passed unanimously. I was really pleased with that. I’m hoping now to take even more steps o reach that new goal of carbon neutrality by 2030," said Taylor.
Despite the long council meetings, which can drag on until midnight, Taylor insisted he is never bored.
"For regular people they can get boring, but for a political junkie like me, I'm always interested. I feel like I’m learning new things every day. It's quite fascinating."
Rather than looking at himself as an anomaly, he sees himself as part of a generation becoming more involved in politics. For him, the key to getting the youth vote out, and getting them interested is mostly about going to them, by campaigning on university and college campuses.
Taylor claimed he doesn’t feel at all like he is missing out on experiences his friends are having at his age, whether going off to university or travelling, he said he is learning every day in his job.
"I feel quite lucky to have this opportunity to do all these things that I love and to learn all of these new things as a job."
Still, he said he doesn’t know for certain whether his long-term career will be in politics or not, but he’s not really thinking about that right now.
“I've got three-and-a half years ahead of me in this term and I want to focus on that and the work that's in front of me," he said.
The bottom line is, at 19, Taylor is exactly where he wants to be.
"I'm really loving this job, it's quite phenomenal."