Brendan Hollingsworth is a 17 year old, currently starting his first year at the University of Ottawa, where he will be pursuing a Bachelor Degree of Social Sciences, Joint Honours in History and Political Science.
Although he found himself involved in politics and history for the majority of his life, his real involvement started when he joined his first political party; the PC Party in the fall of 2016. Brendan was inspired after the election of Sam Oosterhoff, which Brendan says is the reason he recognized that youth can be involved in politics.
Brendan continues his involvement in politics because he believes our future is something we should be looking forward too, not worried about. Brendan also stated “In times like this where the future is uncertain for my generation and the next, it’s important to stand up for yourself and others to make your voice heard in order to create the change necessary to advance society.”
“Young people are the real decision makers in this country, as many of us are of voting age or approaching it and therefore we have the ability to hold our elected officials to account when it comes to making decisions.”
He continued his work in politics by founding Democracy Guelph, which is an organization that petitions for change in our voting system through a method called Local Proportional Representation. Through this organization, Brendan was able to work with mike Schreiner, who also founded Democracy Guelph and is the Leader of the Green Party. During the 2018 Ontario election, Brendan had the opportunity to work on Mike’s campaign! (Mike was elected the first member from the Green Party in Ontario history!)
“And to Mike, if you are reading this, thank you for being such a great mentor and role model for me, you showed me that it is ok to do politics differently, and for that I am truly grateful.”
Brendan also volunteers at Mike’s Constituency Office, and also served as the Student Trustee for Wellington Catholic District School Board in the 2017-18 Term. In the winter of 2018, Brendan was selected as the participant from the riding of Guelph to attend the Model Parliament Program. At this program, Brendan served as MPP for Guelph, and was elected as the Leader of the PC Party, and the official Leader of the
Opposition. Brendan said that, “It was an amazing experience that I will never forget, and I encourage anyone currently in high school to take part in it next year.”
Brendan is a strong supporter of individual rights, protecting our children with a proper sexual education curriculum, promoting Ontario on the world stage through increased trade and cooperation, expanding private sector industry and promoting fiscal responsibility in government.
Brendan also included a quote about the biggest barriers he faced as a youth in politics,
“One of the hardest things in politics is unfortunately being able to freely express your own thoughts and views, especially within a political party that may not share the same views. In order to make real change in the world, you cannot sell yourself out and become a “Yes Man”, because you simply aren’t making change then. One of the many reasons I left the Ontario PC Party was in part to how I was ostracized for supporting a candidate of a different party in my own riding. Because of this, I constantly find myself getting told “I lost all my credibility” and “You has so much potential” which, of course, is completely untrue. No matter what the situation is, you’re always bound to get a little bloody when you take a stand and speak out against a popular idea.”
After Brendan finishes his undergrad at OttawaU, he plans to attend Law School, and hopefully become a Crown Attorney. After that, Brendan is considering a position in public office, although he is undecided about the level of government.
What would you say to a young person who wants to make a change?
Something I can never stress enough is to always stick to your gut and stand up for yourself, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Nobody ever changed anything by following the norm and thinking inside the box. If nobody spoke out, we wouldn’t have things like Medicare, or civil rights, or a constitution. Never let anyone stop you from achieving your goals.