Shawna Lewkowitz is running as the NDP candidate in London West. She generously sat down with Being Our Future team member Ainsley Jeffery to discuss youth issues and concerns. Find a summary of her answers below.
Through her experiences involved with young people, such as teaching Social Justice at King’s, Shawna has recognized the importance of youth voice. She recognizes the value of young voice, and says that is a core value of the NDP. One of the NDP’s main values is lowering the voting age to 16, and she would work to hold some youth advisory council; although she recognizes the importance of creating this council as a meaningful experience, and not tokenistic.
The NDP recognizes the value of the carbon tax, although they understand that more must be done in protecting the environment.
The biggest misconception about the NDP is that they are not fiscally responsible, but Shawna explained that when you look at the NDP’s track record the results are good. The NDP believes that money should be spent investing in people to do and be better, specifically on aspects such as social programs.
From her time canvassing, Shawns has heard from young people that the price of living, especially in terms of affording a house and in addition with student debt. She connects it back to her own daughters who stress about being able to move out with the rising cost of housing.
The NDP value young people and their priorities, such as their New Deal for Young People. When looking at the candidates there is representation of young candidates who are running, so not only is the NDP committed to working towards youth policy, they have young policy makers.
What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in getting involved with politics?
Shawna says that not to wait until you aren’t “too young or more experienced” She emphasizes the importance of connecting students towards leadership roles, and how policy needs to have youth perspective included. There are also many ways to get involved locally, whether that be volunteering on a team or just getting engaged.
Her work in the community has been a factor that has pushed her further to work towards equality for all. This has pushed her to “stand up for people even when it’s hard.”