“You know how you sometimes have a feeling that there is something you are meant to do?” he said excitedly. “I felt exactly that way!”
When a friend of his applied to join the Youth Council, the Debert, Nova Scotia native decided to throw his name in with the 13,000 young Canadians who wished to have a say in the country’s future. Aged between 16 and 24, 30 young Canadians will be selected to regularly meet and share ideas on policy with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his function as minister of youth. The second group of 15 youth leaders will join the council in 2017.
“I think it’s important to have a youth lens in government” said Taylor. “It’s really innovative to establish this council because I think it really shows what kind of country we live in, where everyone can have an active role in deciding policy.”
Taylor, a first-year graduate student at Carleton’s European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (EURUS) program, joined his fellow 14 members from across the country for an inaugural three-day meeting from Sept. 28 to 30. With the purpose of getting to know each other and learning how they will fulfill their duties, the Council meeting coincided with Ottawa hosting the One Young World Summit.
“As a Council,” read Taylor’s acceptance letter, “you and your co-members will have an opportunity to work closely together to amplify the voices of diverse groups of youth across Canada, and to generate fresh and innovative ideas.”
“I really want to be involved with that,” said Taylor.
Taylor’s schedule is already a balancing act in obligations that he manages with ease. On top of working part time giving tours at the Royal Canadian Mint, Taylor is also narrowing down his master’s thesis subject while acting as the research assistant to the EURUS program. The 22-year-old Taylor officially began his master’s program this fall.
During his BA in Russian studies at Dalhousie University, he volunteered an estimated 2,500 hours to different student-led initiatives. He was president of the Dalhousie University Russian Society, the chair of the Chinese Studies Society, a group leader of the Russian Study Abroad program, and an Arctic Youth Ambassador to the international development non-profit Global Vision. He is a student of languages, a polyglot, who speaks seven languages fluently.
Over three summer weeks, Taylor worked on his application over breakfast before going to work at the Mint. He thought particularly long on what he wanted to change in Canada and decided he’d like to work on immigration issues.
“When it comes to our immigration policy we are revered across the world as having the best system,” he said. “People are always trying to model that system and see how we are doing things here in Canada. But that doesn’t mean we can’t improve it and I hope I can help.”
With a little help from his 14 new colleagues and the minister of youth, Justin Trudeau, the odds seem to be in Taylor’s favour.