Being at the forefront encourages others to get involved: Niki Ashton

Niki Ashton

Niki Ashton isn’t part of any literal boxing matches, but she stepped up as a contender in her party’s biggest title bout — the race to replace Jack Layton.

Ashton sometimes — but not always — got more attention for her youth than her ideas in her NDP leadership bid.

“Some people looked at my age and thought it was a plus, and some people looked beyond my age,” said the 29-year-old MP for Churchill, adding she’s happy to be a standard-bearer for young Canadians.

“We’ve been told that we’re the generation that may live less well-off than our parents, and I find that statement unacceptable,” Ashton said. “I mean, we’ve got tremendous wealth, tremendous opportunity in our country and there’s no reason we should be less well-off.”

Ashton acknowledged young people are less likely to vote, but they’re easier to reach through social media and issue-based campaigns. Seeing more people their age in politics, she said, also helps.

“More young people get involved when they see young people at the forefront and speaking out on the issues that matter,” she said. “Our party, I’m proud to say, is one where if you turn on the TV and watch Parliament, we actually look like Canada. The same cannot be said for other parties that have very little representation from young people or women or the diversity of Canada.”



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