Premier Ball Hears Important Perspectives from Youth Council

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Premier Ball Hears Important Perspectives from Youth Council

by ahnationtalk on February 24, 2020248 Views

24 February 2020

The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, met today with members of the Premier’s Youth Council to listen to their perspectives on important matters facing Newfoundland and Labrador.

At the launch of the meeting, Premier Ball welcomed new appointees to the council as well as those who will be serving a second term. Recent appointees bring a wide range of youth perspectives and include young people completing secondary and post-secondary educations and those from rural and urban areas of the province.

At today’s meeting, the Youth Council, Premier Ball, several cabinet ministers and a number of government officials discussed the following:

  • K-12 education improvements
  • Employment and unemployment in Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Mental health services accessibility
  • Tourism
  • Climate change
  • Democratic reform

Created in 2017, the Youth Council is composed of up to 25 young people, aged 16-24, who provide valuable advice to the Premier by bringing a youth perspective to select topics of importance.

Profiles of those serving on the Premier’s Youth Council can be found in the backgrounder below.

“I thank these remarkable young people for stepping forward and for donating their time to help make this a better province. The future of Newfoundland and Labrador rests in the hands of these and every other youth spread across the province and it is important that our government listens to their perspectives. Input received from the council today will be valuable as we shape government policies.”
Honourable Dwight Ball
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

– 30 –

Learn more
Premier’s Youth Council

News Release: Premier Ball Thanks Members of Youth Council for Important Discussions on Provincial Issues

News Release: Premier Ball Creates Youth Council and Invites Applications

News Release: Premier Ball Announces Members of Youth Council

Follow us on Twitter @GovNLOpens in new window

Media contact
Jeremy Reynolds
Office of the Premier
[email protected]


Profiles of Members of the Premier’s Youth Council

Matthew Babb
Matthew is from St. John’s and studies Political Science at Memorial University. He is a committed volunteer with the School Breakfast Program in multiple schools in the St. John’s area.  He serves on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Park Community Centre as the Recording Secretary and as the Vice President of Finance for Memorial University’s Political Science Society.

Billy Barnes
Billy is from Glenburnie-Birchy Head-Shoal Brook and attends Memorial University where he is enrolled in the Bachelor of Engineering Co-Op Program. Billy is a member of the South Side Fire Department and is a Junior Designer with Memorial’s Paradigm Hyperloop Team. He has helped local businesses increase their visibility through improved digital marketing literacy.

Noah Briffett
Noah is from Pasadena and is studying Commerce at Memorial University. He is passionate about baseball, both as a participant and a volunteer, and has worked with the Canada Cuba Goodwill Tour to develop the first female baseball program in Cuba. He has completed two work terms with Husky Energy, and worked with a committee to pursue green initiatives within the company. In his free time he plays sports and researches equities for Memorial University’s Investment team, The Fund.

Mira Buckle
Mira is from Corner Brook and is a Grade 11 student attending Corner Brook Regional High where she was awarded Student of the Year in grade 10. She is a student and teaching assistant with the youth program of Theater Newfoundland Labrador; and a member of the Corner Brook Youth Council, Qalipu Youth Network, Corner Brook Library Board, and her student council. Mira organized the school Student Vote, participates in the Debate and Feminism Clubs, and is a student member of Equal Voice. Mira is also a SHAD fellow and Ambassador; and as a Rising Youth Alumni, created, wrote, and directed a play teaching students about positive digital citizenship.

Nathan Canning
Nathan is from Bridgeport, a small community in Eastern Notre Dame Bay. He is currently a Bachelor of Arts student at Memorial University, majoring in
Political Science. Nathan is very passionate about politics and has volunteered on political campaigns since the age of 13. He served on the executive board of Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Parliament (NLYP) for two terms and as Premier of NLYP’s 55th session. He is an avid community volunteer and advocates for preserving Newfoundland and Labrador’s unique culture and rural communities.

Michael Coombs
Michael is from St. Alban’s and attends Memorial University, pursuing a Doctor of Pharmacy. In 2017, he was awarded the Memorial University Alumni Entrance Scholarship. Michael participated in the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Program and is part of the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation. He is an avid volunteer for organizations, including, the MUN Mentors Connector Program, and Relay for Life; and is a strong advocate for mental health with a passion for the rights of marginalized youth.

Elliot Dicks
Elliot is from Deer Lake and is a Grade 11 student attending Elwood Regional High School.  He spends much of his time playing and coaching sports; including soccer, golf and hockey. He is a member of the Western Kings major midget hockey team and is involved in various other groups, including the Student Council and Humanitarian Club. Elliot enjoys Math and Science and has a keen interest in the history of our province. He represented Newfoundland and Labrador as an Ambassador, touring the Trail of the Caribou to learn about the Newfoundland Regiment in World War I. He plans to attend Memorial University to pursue a career in Engineering.

Katherine Dibbon
Katherine is from St. John’s and is pursuing a joint degree in Political Science and Chemistry at Memorial University. She is passionate about action for gender equality and inclusion and is a member of the Beijing +25 Youth Task Force supported by UN Women, which works to ensure a global commitment to women’s rights.  Katherine is a SHAD fellow, Co-Chair of the St. John’s Youth Advisory Committee, President of Youth with Minister Osborne’s District Association, and a member of MP Seamus O’Regan’s Youth Advisory Council. She served as an ambassador with World Vision Leadership, the RCMP National Youth Advisory Committee, PLAN Canada and the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation. She hopes to pursue a career in medicine or international development and foreign affairs.

Jade Downey
Jade is from Grand Bank and is a Political Science, Communications, and English student at Memorial University; currently completing her final semester. She is very involved in the political community and is the President of the NL Young Liberals and sits on the executive board of the NL Youth Parliament, as Director of Communications. She is also the Education Coordinator at the Boys and Girls Club. Jade aspires to be a teacher and hopes to use her background and knowledge to engage future students in the democratic process.

Julian Edwards
Julian is from St. John’s and attends Memorial University where he is working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry.  Julian is interested in education, sports, music, and health.  He looks forward to collaborating with the Premier and other youth to maximize the wellbeing of our province.  He has received a number of scholarships, including the Dr. Leslie Harris Memorial Scholarship and the RISE scholarship, which enabled him to attend three weeks at the Boston Leadership Institute for Biomedical and Surgical Research.  Julian is a volunteer with a number of organizations and is passionate about many issues affecting youth in our province.

Nicholas Ellis
Nicholas is from Winterton, where he graduated from Baccalieu Collegiate. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at Memorial University. Nicholas has won various awards and scholarships, including the Beaumont-Hamel Pilgrimage award from the Newfoundland and Labrador Command of the Royal Canadian Legion. In his free time he enjoys going to movies and travelling.

Leann Goodyear
Leann is from Lumsden and is an education student at Memorial University. Leann was a 2910 army cadet and received many awards/scholarships, including the Student Community Leadership Scholarship and the Newfoundland and Labrador Student Volunteer award. Leann has participated in provincial student leadership conferences, StandOut conference, NL Youth Parliament, Encounters with Canada, and RADHOC; and is currently a board member for NL Youth Parliament. She spends many hours volunteering with our healthcare system, including the Central Health’s Kittiwake Community Advisory Committee and a Physical Retention committee for Dr. YK Jeon Kittiwake Health Centre.

Chelsea Hicks-Ryan
Chelsea is from Pasadena and is in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus. She has received various academic awards and scholarships, including the Memorial University Entrance Scholarship, and two Indspire Scholarships. Chelsea worked as an intern to Federal Member of Parliament, Gudie Hutchings, through the Student Leadership Program. An avid volunteer from a young age, she is passionate about politics and youth engagement.

Nicholas Hillier

Nicholas is from St. John’s and is a second year Political Science Major at Memorial University. He serves as Co-Chair of the City of St. John’s Youth Advisory Committee and Vice-President of the NL Youth Parliament. He has been employed for the last four summers with the Government of NL and received the Government of NL’s Volunteer of the Year Award. Nicholas has a passion for politics and the policy making process.  He loves sports and works part-time with the Newfoundland Growlers and the St. John’s Edge. Nicholas also operates his own photography business, Nicholas Hillier Photography.

Amelia Jones
Amelia is from Forteau and moved to St. John’s to pursue a degree in neuroscience.  Her ultimate career goal is to become a surgeon. She has a passion for politics and participates in the NL Youth Parliament, NL Young Liberals, and the Young Liberals of Canada. Amelia is particularly interested in the topics of mental health, Labrador and Indigenous issues, education, and transportation. In her spare time she weightlifts and volunteers with Canadian Blood Services.  Amelia feels strongly about the importance of governments hearing youth perspectives and looks forward to sharing her perspective as part of the Premier’s Youth Council.

Emily Laite
Emily is from Gander and is completing her last year of studies toward a Bachelor of Humanities and Social Sciences degree; majoring in French and minoring in psychology, at Memorial University. She aspires to become a primary/elementary French immersion teacher. Emily is currently employed at the Student Volunteer Bureau, which recognizes student volunteerism. She is an active volunteer herself and sits on the Board of Directors for the Atlantic Summer Institute on Healthy and Safe Communities in PEI, is a Memorial Ambassador, a Brownies’ leader, and volunteers in primary/elementary classes.

Ryan McFarlane
Ryan was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and later moved to Deer Lake, Newfoundland. He attends Memorial University where he is working toward a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. During the semester you will find him at the library or gym playing basketball in his spare time. During the summer break he manages a sports program for youth in Deer Lake.

Kirby Mouland

Kirby is from Musgrave Harbour and currently lives in St. John’s where he is studying Applied Mathematics and Chemistry at Memorial University, aspiring to become a teacher. He sits on the NL Youth Parliament Board of Directors as Director of Finance. He is an active volunteer and is very politically involved. Kirby has won several awards and scholarships, including the Dr. Leslie Harris Memorial University Alumni Association Scholarship.

Hailey Noseworthy
Hailey is from Silverdale and is a Bachelor of Nursing student. She is an active member of her school’s nursing society, a student representative with the College of Registered Nurses NL, and a student advocate for inclusive and alternative learning in K-12 Education with the NL English School Board.  Hailey has a passion for tourism and works with the Dr. Jon Lien Museum and the King’s Point Theatre Company.  She has participated in programs, such: as SHAD, MedQuest, Miss Achievement NL, Encounters with Canada, World Visions Youth Advocacy Program, and the NL Youth Parliament. She is involved in numerous youth organizations, such as: the Kids Help Phone, the National Youth Council, and the Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame Constituency Youth Council. Hailey has received multiple awards, including SHAD’s Trevor Nason Memorial Award and the Governor General’s Academic Medal.

Benjamin Oates
Benjamin is from St. John’s and is completing Grade 12 at Holy Heart of Mary High School. He is an active member in his community, volunteering with numerous organizations; including, St. Paul’s Junior High Boys Basketball and The Gathering Place. Benjamin was elected Executive of the Student Council, has a passion for music, and is involved with the HHM Concert Band and Jazz Band, playing a variety of instruments. Benjamin also has an interest in Newfoundland and Labrador history and politics and is dedicated to serving his peers and province.

Lesley Pilgrim
Lesley is from St. Anthony and attends Memorial University where she is working toward a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Certificate in Public Policy.  She is passionate about equality and improving healthcare access, especially in rural areas.  She volunteers with Planned Parenthood NL Sexual Health Centre and plans to pursue a master’s degree in health administration.

Mehnaz Tabassum
Mehnaz lives in St. John’s and graduated with a Diploma in Business Administration from Memorial University. She is currently completing a Bachelor of Business Administration; majoring in Accounting, and a Certificate in Public Policy. Mehnaz works with Canada Revenue Agency and volunteers with organizations, such as: Choices for Youth, Empower Disability Resource Center, NL Young Professionals Network, and the City of St. John’s. She has won various awards and scholarships, including: the Social Innovation Challenge, Feeding 9Billion Challenge, Young Entrepreneur Award, and the nomination for 2020 Woman of Distinction Award by YWCA St. John’s. Mehnaz is passionate about youth engagement and serving her community.

Katie Wells
Katie is from Happy Valley-Goose Bay and is a second year French Major at Memorial University. She is very interested in politics and is a member of the Lake Melville District Association and the NL Young Liberals board of directors.  Katie was an active volunteer in recent Provincial and Federal elections and attended RADHOC and the Canadian Student Leadership Conference.  She is actively involved in her community and served as Youth Councilor with the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Emma Whelan
Emma is from Paradise and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology and a concentration in health professions at Memorial University. She has been awarded various scholarships, including the Memorial University Entrance Scholarship.  Emma works two part-time jobs in addition to her full time studies and aspires to have a career in healthcare. She is passionate about supporting women in math and science, mental health; and equality for all.

Julia White
Julia is from St. John’s and is a 4th year Bachelor of Nursing student at Memorial University. She founded MUNFON Gives Back, a volunteer group which has supported organizations such as The Gathering Place, The Waterford Hospital Auxiliary, and MUN Campus Food Bank. She is also a recipient of the TD Achieve the Dream Scholarship. Julia is passionate about mental healthcare and strives to be an advocate for those affected. She enjoys singing, playing guitar and running.


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