A carpenter, a stay-at-home mother and an organic farmer. Those are just three of the dozens of candidates aged 30 and under who are vying for votes in the Oct. 14 federal election.
They believe youth is on their side and represent a range of parties from the Greens to the Conservatives. The issues they are championing include everything from saving the environment to better foreign policy matters.
If history is any indicator, young members of Parliament are few and far between. In fact, in the most recent Parliament, less than two per cent of MPs were 30 or younger.
Liberal Claude-André Lachance was the youngest MP ever elected to the House of Commons, when he won his Montreal riding at age 20 years and three months in 1974. He was first elected into the former Lafontaine riding before being elected into the former Rosemont riding in the 1979 and 1980 elections. He served in Rosemont until 1984.
Before Lachance, the late journalist and priest, Sean O'Sullivan, who represented the Progressive Conservative Party in Ontario's former Hamilton-Wentworth riding, was the youngest member of the House of Commons, being elected in 1972 at the age of 20 years and 10 months. He left politics in 1977 to enter priesthood.
According to the Parliament of Canada's website, 53 was the average of age of MPs in the last Parliament.
Of the 308 members in the 39th Parliament, six were 30 and under. They included the Conservatives' Andrew Scheer, 29, from Saskatchewan's Regina-Qu'Appelle riding, Patrick Brown, 30, from Ontario's Barrie riding; and Thierry St-Cyr, 30, who held Quebec's Jeanne-Le Ber riding for the Bloc Québécois.
Politics should be 'more inspirational'
St-Cyr, who in the 2006 election became the youngest Quebec MP at age 28, beating Liberal incumbent Liza Frulla, believes it is important Canada's youth are represented in the House of Commons.
"Every year we realize that there isn't a lot of youth voters," he said. "I thought that if I could somehow be an example to show that if youth has its place in politics, that if a 30-year-old man can be an MP and have some influence, it shows that we have a place to take in the political world."
Toronto student Gregory Murray, 21, agrees. The Conservative party member plans to exercise his right to vote on Oct. 14.
The fourth-year business management student at Ryerson University believes more youth would vote if they saw a larger representation of themselves in Parliament.
"The only way [parties can reach out to youth] is have more candidates in our age group, who understand the students and who speak from experience, not from a script," he said.
"There's youthful politicians who are all about change … but I don't think that's enough to sell the younger population on politics.
"It needs to be more inspirational," he added. "The way to capture peoples' imagination is by being like them. Our most trusted opinion leaders are those people who are our age, who know our values, and know what we believe in."