Lo­cal teen ea­ger to work with Nairn & Hy­man coun­cil

The Mid-North Monitor - - News - BY JES­SICA BROUSSEAU

While most univer­sity stu­dents are en­grossed with pre­par­ing for the end of se­mes­ter ex­ams, work­ing part-time jobs close to their schools and spend­ing what lit­tle free time they do have so­cial­iz­ing; 19-year-old Fred­eric Diebel is help­ing his com­mu­nity, the Town­ship of Nairn & Hy­man.

Cur­rently, Diebel is study­ing po­lit­i­cal sci­ence at Car­leton Univer­sity in Ot­tawa. He is also a com­pet­i­tive curler and a com­mit­ted vol­un­teer. So when he de­cided to run for the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion, it was a dif­fer­ent job than what his class­mates would be do­ing dur­ing their school year.

“(My friends) were pretty sur­prised to hear when I was run­ning,” he ad­mit­ted. “(But) they were very sup­port­ive through ev­ery­thing dur­ing the elec­tion.”

The win

Diebel made his­tory in his home­town when he was not only elected as a coun­cil­lor, but re­ceived enough votes to tie in the top spot with fel­low coun­cil­lor Rod MacDon­ald.

“I was pretty sur­prised yet very hum­bled and hon­oured to be in that po­si­tion, to be cho­sen in such large num­bers.”

Se­cur­ing 113 votes dur­ing the 2018 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion, Diebel threw his hat into the po­lit­i­cal ring to serve the cit­i­zens of his home­town and be a part of the process in bet­ter­ing the lives of those re­sid­ing in the Town­ship of Nairn & Hy­man. Two is­sues that are im­por­tant to him.

Cam­paign trail

When it came to cam­paign­ing he was met with mixed com­ments, with one of the main is­sues be­ing his age.

“I was get­ting two re­ac­tions on the doorsteps. One was that I was too young for pol­i­tics and the other was peo­ple get­ting ex­cited about my age, and said that young fresh blood on coun­cil would be good for Nairn & Hy­man.”

With vot­ers think­ing ex­pe­ri­ence comes with age, Diebel had doubt cast on him for his un­der­stand­ing of the po­lit­i­cal game. But as the old adage says; age is just a num­ber.

“I was go­ing carry on with my cam­paign and not make my age some­thing that set me back. To put your name on the bal­lot you have to have thick skin and I learned that pretty quickly.”

Po­lit­i­cal en­thu­si­asm

“I think I owe a lot of my early po­lit­i­cal in­ter­est to my par­ents for teach­ing me the ba­sics of pol­i­tics at a young age, and I think my love for it just grew from there.”

With his in­ter­ests de­vel­oped and fos­tered at such a young age, it was nat­u­ral that Diebel would pur­sue a post-se­condary study in po­lit­i­cal stud­ies. This too pre­pared Diebel for the less than glam­orous side of the job: know­ing he must have thick skin to sur­vive.

“Some peo­ple are go­ing to dis­agree with what you be­lieve in or what you are do­ing or how you are rep­re­sent­ing them. And they can say any­thing about it, so you have to just put it be­hind you and not worry about it too much.”

Fall­dien wel­comes Diebel

Mayor of Nairn & Hy­man, Lau­rier Fall­dien is pleased to have a fresh voice join coun­cil.

“I’m very happy to have Fred­eric on our team,” said Fall­dien. “He brings a young en­thu­si­asm to the ta­ble.”

Fall­dien said it will be a chal­lenge for the new coun­cil to bring back the en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm to the com­mu­nity.

“He is an in­tel­li­gent young man and I be­lieve the vot­ers see that in him.”

Dis­tance

Liv­ing more than 500 kilo­me­tres from his com­mu­nity, Diebel said he is not wor­ried about not be­ing avail­able for the cit­i­zens of Nairn & Hy­man.

“I have good time man­age­ment skills to bal­ance school work and coun­cil du­ties, as well as I will be trav­el­ling from Ot­tawa to Nairn for meet­ings,” Diebel ex­plained. “There are so many ways now that you can com­mu­ni­cate with peo­ple from a dis­tance so I plan to be avail­able to the peo­ple of Nairn & Hy­man when I am not in town.”

His four-year plan

And while he might be new to the game, Diebel al­ready has plans for the up­com­ing four years to bring events back to his town.

“We haven’t had a recre­ation com­mit­tee for a lit­tle while now. I also want more peo­ple to be en­gaged and in­volved in mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics, that be­gins with com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween coun­cil and cit­i­zens.”

What’s next for Diebel

De­spite his new job as coun­cil­lor, Diebel is still map­ping out his fu­ture as a stu­dent, say­ing once he fin­ishes his un­der­grad he might pur­sue a masters de­gree or law school.

“But, I will re­main po­lit­i­cally in­volved for as long as I can.”

PHOTO SUP­PLIED

Fred­eric Diebel

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