Canadian University College student to represent Alberta at summits

A 20-year-old Canadian University College student has been chosen to represent Alberta at the G8/G20 youth summits later this month in Ontario.

Tyson Phillips

Tyson Phillips

A 20-year-old Canadian University College student has been chosen to represent Alberta at the G8/G20 youth summits later this month in Ontario.

Tyson Phillips, originally from Beauvallon east of Edmonton, has the weight of the province riding on his shoulders as he and 12 other provincial and territorial representatives are set to discuss major international issues with fellow youth delegates from around the world from June 23 to 27.

“I’m from a farm, so the food security is a big issue. I don’t think that you can boost production on the farm in five years, like double production. So you have to find other ways to become more efficient and more sustainable,” said Phillips, specifically mentioning aquaculture promotion as one available option to boost world food production to match population trends.

Other matters that he thinks will come up include maternal health, nuclear non-proliferation and climate change.

“The tarsands are a huge issue behind the scenes. . . . You have to defend what Alberta is doing to make the oilsands environmentally friendly, because it does make an impact on the economy and it is a huge issue,” he added, pointing out that his job, though, isn’t to make definitive claims on behalf of anyone.

Phillips, who will be returning to CUC in September to start his third year of biology, says that although there has been a lot of negative attention paid to how taxpayer dollars are being spent on the G8/G20 summits — such as the nearly $2-million fake lake complex that acts as a media centre — people need to realize that there are important matters that need to be discussed by world leaders.

The delegates at the youth summits, which take place simultaneously to the real ones and in the same locations, will debate the issues and produce a final document on the perspective of younger people to be handed over to the actual G8/G20 delegates.

Phillips won the opportunity to represent Alberta at My Summit 2010 by participating in the National Youth Ambassador Caucus last month.

He says that although he still plans to work towards medical school and an eventual career as a doctor, the caucus and the work-up to the G8/G20 summits has “sparked some interest in me to go into politics,” Phillips said.

“A lot of people could be using it just for a resumé, but this is actually an opportunity to have a say in what Canadian youth believe in,” he said.

mgauk@bprda.wpengine.com