Liam Richardson has “loved politics ever since I was in grade,” he read to city council and a full gallery from his winning essay as he sat proudly in the mayors seat at the council table, wearing the chain of office, itching to use the gavel.
“I love Canadian politics because it makes me very proud to say I live in a free democracy — a democracy in which all people regardless of race, politics or religion can be accepted as a Canadian,” read the 15-year-old during the regular city council meeting at the end of a day shadowing acting mayor Chris Burger.
“I was really impressed, it shows young people can be active in politics,” Burger later told The News, pointing out that Richardson, like the runners up, kept bringing up issues that council themselves often debate.
As winner of the Mayor for a Day essay contest, Richardson stole the show making several politically astute points, which had to be restricted somewhat by the rules of the council meeting in progress.
Burger pointed out that the Ballenas Secondary Grade 10 student had read the entire agenda in 20 minutes and was already angling for a run at the mayor’s job for real in 2014.
“He’s already asked for my endorsement,” Burger told the audience to a big chuckle.
In his essay Richardson wrote of the beauty of the city and wildlife from deer to geese roaming free.
Answering the essay question what he would do as mayor he said he’d make the health centre a priority and focus on protecting the natural beauty with harsher fines.
He would encourage local businesses over corporate giants, organize family activities to draw more young people into town and urge all young people to vote.
While Richardson got the honoured seat to himself for the evening, he was joined in some of the activities and tours of city facilities such as the Springwood water facility and fire hall by runners-up Sydney Snyder and Shelby Burrell.
The 12-year-old girls also got to read their essays to council and the audience, bringing up often-talked-about issues, like the need for more sidewalks (specifically along Despard Avenue), bicycling paths, litter and a need for more events for families and youth.