Top News

Corner Brook youth are getting engaged in municipal politics

Members of the City of Corner Brook’s youth advisory council are staying connected through Zoom. From left, top, Coun. Linda Chaisson and Mira Buckle and bottom Maryam Taj.
Diane Crocker
Members of the City of Corner Brook’s youth advisory council are staying connected through Zoom. From left, top, Coun. Linda Chaisson and Mira Buckle and bottom Maryam Taj. Diane Crocker - Diane Crocker
CORNER BROOK, N.L. —

Most people know Mira Buckle through her involvement in the arts and theatre.

But last summer the Corner Brook teen had her eyes opened to a new experience that’s now become a new passion.

Buckle, 16, a Level 2 student at Corner Brook Regional High, participated in Shad 2019 at McGill in Montreal. The program focuses on preparing students to take on social and economic challenges. It was there she was introduced to the concept of youth advisory councils that work with municipal councils. Young people are able to share their thoughts and ideas and become engaged in their communities.

Buckle thought it was a great idea for Corner Brook.

“I just think it’s really important to be engaged and I feel like we do have a lot of positive ideas and I think we really can make a difference if our voices are heard,” she said during a recent Zoom call.


Mira Buckle
Mira Buckle


She said Corner Brook council already does an awesome job addressing the needs of youth but thought why not include more youth in a council?

“To make Corner Brook more of a positive youth-friendly place where youth feel welcome to go. And show that youth want to be engaged and that we have ideas. If you start being engaged at a younger age you’re going to continue.”

So, she took the idea to Coun. Linda Chaisson and Mayor Jim Parsons.

Chaisson said it wasn’t hard to pick up on Buckle’s enthusiasm.

“I found it so exciting. It was a breath of fresh air.”

With the full council’s support, the decision was made to start a youth advisory council with Chaisson joining as council’s representative.

The group started organizing in September and October, putting together its terms of reference with some advice from the Youth Council Coalition of Canada — a connection Buckle made at Shad. It also started the application process to find members.

Membership is open to teens from middle school and up and as members cycle out new ones will be added. The council met in January with nine members.

Maryam Taj is one of them. The 15-year-old Level 1 student has been involved in student council before but said it can be a little limiting.

“In the sense that it just extends to the school.”


Maryam Taj - Contributed
Maryam Taj - Contributed


She thought a youth advisory council for city council would be a great way to help in the community. As a newcomer to Corner Brook last year that was something she wanted to do but wasn’t sure what avenues to use.

“Just by joining this committee I know that there’s certain things that I can help out with,” she said. “Leadership is something I definitely want to strive towards, and Corner Brook is like the best community because they’re so supportive and there’s always things you can try out to become a leader in this city.”

The council held one other meeting before the COVID-19 pandemic started and resulted in some of the group's plans for the summer being put on hold.

It also meant they had to find other ways to engage and they’ve readily taken on the challenge.

“Honestly, I think I feel it’s made us more motivated,” said Taj. “It’s made us think outside of the box, much more than we did before. I feel we’re more united, we have a more united front because we’re working together confined in our homes though we are, we’re really not confined in any other way.”

Buckle agrees.

“This year is providing a lot of opportunities that probably wouldn’t have happened if this wasn’t on the go.”


“I found it so exciting. It was a breath of fresh air.”


The youth advisory council will be getting a plot in one of the city’s three new community gardens. An activity that can be done safely while social distancing and they’ll donate the food they grow.

Taj loves gardening and is looking forward to the project.

“It’s such a neat way of interacting and helping out in the community with keeping in mind the COVID guidelines.”

They’ll also work on a project to spread positivity in the community, using a RisingYouth grant to place positive messages around the city to help motivate people during COVID-19.

Working with, and listening to, the young people on the council has been a great experience for Chaisson.

“I just think they bring a different perspective to the table. They’re so excited. They’re so motivated and they keep me motivated,” said Chaisson. “It’s what we need at the council table. We need to know what they need, and we need to know where their heads are. These are the people that are going to be taking care of us in the future. They have some awesome ideas that we certainly can incorporate in our council meetings.”

Twitter: WS_DianeCrocker

diane.crocker@thewesternstar.com

@western_star


Youth council members:

  • Mira Buckle
  • Brianna Mckenzie
  • Luke Thibeau
  • Maggie Hunt
  • Maryam Taj
  • Rachael O’Reilly
  • Scott Beales
  • Jenna Leyte
  • Levi Jacobsen
  • Coun. Linda Chaisson

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories