KELOWNA, B.C. — A 4-H member from Penticton B.C., recently named to the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, says one of his priorities is improving access to health care for rural residents.
Macgregor Tebbutt is a third year mechanical engineering student at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, an 11-year member of the Penticton 4-H club and a competitive rodeo athlete.
“Health-care access in small rural communities like Princeton or Merritt here in the Okanagan is an important issue for me,” said Tebbutt.
“If a family has to pay to travel to a larger center for care, they may choose not to go.”
The 15-member council was chosen from 14,000 applicants across Canada. They met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, various cabinet ministers and the parliamentary secretary during three days of meetings in Ottawa in September.
It will continue to meet once a month by video conference or telephone.
“The Prime Minister’s Youth Council was created so the youth of Canada would have a means to voice their concerns, their beliefs and their ideals of what the country should do, directly to the government,” said Tebbutt.
“The government has said they will ask us our opinions of policies they are enacting and the directions they are going in but also what issues are important to us.”
He said the youth delegates agreed the status of minorities was an important priority in addition to gender and First Nations equality, mental health, the environment and health care.
“The council is looking for ways to get youth involved in the community and 4-H certainly does that. I can bring the 4-H voice as well, so that the council knows the ideas that 4-H has been instilling in kids for over 100 years, said Tebbutt, who is the only member with an agriculture background.
He first joined 4-H for a guinea pig project at age 7 and later moved into horses.
“The first time I saw roping at a rodeo, I wanted to try it. I do as much of it as I can,” Tebbutt said. “It’s a fun break from my studies and work.”
The two-time 4-H scholarship winner has completed two years of junior leadership, been a 4-H ambassador, designed a safety checklist for 4-H Horse members, taught public speaking and organized a 4-H club for rural youth in southern B.C.