Town Council: Moosomin seeks to add youth councillor

February 17, 2020 7:59 am
Kevin Weedmark


Moosomin town council has decided to add a youth councillor position to town council. Council passed a motion at the regular meeting Wednesday to add a youth councillor.

Under the Saskatchewan Municipalities Act, a council can appoint a youth member of council to participate in meetings.

The legislation leaves it up to council to determine the term for the youth member, and to determine the conditions of their service on council.

The youth member can contribute to discussions, but does not have a vote on council.

The youth member must be younger than 18 years old when appointed.

Councillor Murray Gray brought up the idea at Wednesday’s council meeting. “One of the seminars I went to at (the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association Convention) was about bringing on a youth councillor—someone 14 to 18 who could be on your council,” he said at the council meeting.

“I think it would be beneficial for us —we could listen to a younger person’s point of view. They can’t vote but would have a say.

“I think the youth of today, if you can involve them, will have a point of view on most of the issues we talk about.”

Councillor Chris Davidson, participating in the meeting by teleconference, said he is fully in favor of adding a youth councillor, but stressed that the town will need to check the Municipalities Act to ensure they are doing it right.

“I think it’s important to involve our youth,” Gray said.

“They’re young, so they have a longer future in this town than we do. They have more at stake.”

Gray said the event at SUMA where the idea was suggested was a seminar on inclusion and council succession.

“There was a lot of discussion about how to ensure you have a diverse council and how you make sure that all different types of people have input in your council,” Gray explained. “They mentioned that this is in the Municipalities Act, that you can have a youth sit on your council and give their opinion. I thought, what a better way to include the young people and know where they’re at. If no one asks them, no one knows what their thoughts are.

“As well, it might groom somebody to be a councillor in the future, because they would understand how council works and develop an interest at a younger age than most of us.”

Gray said he hopes there is a lot of interest among youth, and is hoping to get an opportunity to talk to the Grades 10-12 students at McNaughton High School.

“I want to explain to them why we think this is important, and hopefully we can get some interest, and they can hold an election to find someone,” he said.

What kind of input is he hoping to get?

“We want to know what would make them stay here or come back after university,” he said. “That would be great for us to hear that. The more I think about it, the more excited I am about it.”

He is hoping to have an election for the youth councillor in the fall, with the term to run for the school year.

The section of the Municipal Act allowing a youth councillor reads:
82.1(1) A council may appoint a person with the title ‘youth member’ to sit with the council and participate in its deliberations for a term and on conditions that the council may decide.
(2) A person appointed as youth member must be less than 18 years of age at the time of appointment.
(3) A person appointed as youth member is not a member of council and shall not be counted for the purpose of determining a quorum or deciding a vote of the council.