Political aspirations inspire page position

Oak Bay High grad among 40 bilingual youth selected from across Canada

James Ashwell

As a politician or in the realm of civil service, James Ashwell sees potential for a future in parliament.

The Oak Bay High student, who graduates in June, will test those waters in the next year with a spot in the Parliamentary Page program.

“He’s an outstanding kid,” said teacher Scott Alexander.

“For a kid who has bounced around the last two years he committed himself, he just jumped right in to Oak Bay and found places to serve and get involved.”

A newcomer to Oak Bay this school year, in Grade 11 Ashwell was uncertain which future to follow, whether he wanted to pursue science or humanities.

Instead, he applied for a student exchange through his then-local Rotary Club of Dawson Creek Sunrise. He spent a year living in Emsdetten, Germany.

“One of the most impactful things for me was visiting the German parliament buildings,” he said.

The history and monuments to the darker side of their history intrigued him. Their social studies class included economics and he took high school philosophy – classes not available to him back home.

He came back with some ideas and direction.

“That was where I started to realize maybe the political route was something I wanted to do,” Ashwell said.

Ashwell is one of 40 students chosen across Canada for the Parliamentary Page program in Ottawa this fall.

The application included a resumé and short essay. Applicants must also be bilingual, so the longtime French immersion student had to endure a French evaluation he called “pretty intimidating.”

An unfortunate poor connection made it difficult to hear his pair of interviewers.

“He had this burning desire to be involved politically and a genuine desire to serve his country,” Alexander said.

The one-year term starts in September.

“It’ll be really valuable to make the connection with all the other pages – interesting, smart Canadians who are all driven by the same motivation I am,” he said. “It’s a chance to meet people who have decided that’s what they’re going to pursue (and) to see the different roles and working in parliament and meeting these people, I’ll get an idea of what different people can do and what I could do in the future.”

Ashwell plans to attend bilingual studies in philosophy and economics at the University of Ontario this fall.

“He is articulate and a thorough planner. He is an astute observer of world and Canadian politics,” Alexander said. “He wasn’t lucky. It was his preparation and he seized the opportunity.”

 

 

Just Posted

Study moves Oak Bay closer to contraceptive control for problem deer

The report says between 78 and 128 black tail deer live in the affluent beach-side community

Two missing Victoria children found safe

VicPD responded to two separate missing children calls Tuesday

Chim Chim Cher‑ee! Mary Poppins is coming to Oak Bay High

Mary Poppins opens Friday, Feb. 22, at the Dave Dunnet theatre

Report estimates 100 deer call Oak Bay home

The population could be between 72 and 128 deer

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Tonight’s sporting event costs more than the Super Bowl, and Obama is going

Tickets are going for more than $4,000 to watch the Duke - North Carolina basketball game

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Most Read