Jaeden Dela Torre is one of the youngest candidates in the ongoing federal election campaign.
At 18 years of age, the Richmond-born and –raised contender has an early start in politics, which is quite rare among his peers.
“Politics means making progress and change, and generally setting a positive vision for the country,” Dela Torre explained to the Georgia Straight in a phone interview about his interest in politics.
Dela Torre is running with the NDP in Steveston—Richmond East, a riding held by veteran politician and Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido.
“Door knocking has been pretty fun for me, talking to people on the doorsteps,” Dela Torre related. “As well as seeing sometimes my friends at the door makes me laugh.”
Dela Torre grew up in a tightly-knit Filipino family, which can be seen in his campaign.
Family members come door knocking with him. They are also active on social media.
“They’ve been providing love and support, and they’re there when I need them,” Dela Torre said.
His parents came from the Philippines, and built a new life in Canada.
“I am very proud of being Filipino,” Dela Torre said.
According to Dela Torre, he wants to inspire other young Filipinos to seek elected office and get involve the public life of the country.
The youngest of three siblings, Dela Torre studies political science at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Dela Torre could have chosen to be a Liberal or a Conservative or a Green.
The Steveston—Richmond East contender chose the New Democrats, saying he “saw a lot of hope with the values of the NDP”.
“I’m definitely not a Conservative. The Liberal Party I feel doesn’t really represent or understand the kind of stress that my generation is going through,” Dela Torre said. “And the New Democrats are really the only party that has put out a platform and a vision and values that say, ‘Hey, we understand what you’re going through and that the reason we exist is because we want to help you get ahead in life. We want to sure that we’re leaving behind a planet for you that’s sustainable. We want to make sure that we’re protecting your rights. We want to make sure that we’re standing for you’.”