Meet the Central Okanagan's youngest candidate in the upcoming federal election - InfoNews

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Meet the Central Okanagan's youngest candidate in the upcoming federal election

Justin Kulik, 18, is running as an NDP candidate in the federal Kelowna-Lake Country riding.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Justin M. J. Kulik
May 21, 2019 - 1:00 PM

KELOWNA - Justin Kulik knows he’s the underdog.

He’s 18 years old, running as an NDP candidate in the federal Kelowna-Lake Country riding — a historically Conservative stronghold — and a political neophyte.

All that and he’s not fazed.

“Back in 2015 MP Stephen Fuhr was an underdog, going into this,” he said. “Victory is 1,000 times sweeter when you’re the underdog and going in I think I can be elected the first NDP candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country.”

It’s not just blind optimism that’s guiding the way, Kulik has already learned that he can make a difference when he puts his mind to it.

The Okanagan-Mission Secondary student launched an online petition earlier this year to eliminate food waste at the grocery retail store level that has so far attracted 225,000 signatures.

Based on the volume of that response, Kulik was given the opportunity to present his petition to the Prime Minister’s Office health advisor, federal agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay and other MPs on World Food Day, Oct. 16.

Kulik’s efforts were also cited by a Quebec MP during Question Period, calling for a national food policy to be adopted by the federal government.

He wants to continue that work as well as look closely at green energy, pharmacare and, closer to home, infrastructure that will allow Kelowna to transition away from car culture and water usage.

“We have one of the highest per capita water usage rates in the country, which is not as good as it could be given water shortages to the world,” he said.

It may be a heavy to-do list for someone his age, but he’s keen on proving that his youth “is not a  hindrance,” it’s something that he can use to demonstrate the capability of young people.

“Going into this election, I’d like to see a higher voter turnout of all people, but especially young people,” he said. “This demographic is often ignored, but increasing awareness of issues that young people care about.”

So far there are three candidates running. Fuhr is the Liberal candidate and Tracy Gray is running for the Conservative Party.

Federal election day is Oct. 21.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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