Brody Paton accompanies former City of Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper in having a picture taken with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his Kamloops visit on Jan. 9. (Cindy Derkaz photo)

Shuswap youth shares vision for national event with Justin Trudeau

Salmon Arm Friendship Day founder gains politicial insight in meeting with prime minister

Brody Paton shared his vision for a nationwide Friendship Day with the person in the best position to make it happen: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The 10-year-old Salmon Arm Friendship Day and Soap Box Derby founder had an opportunity to meet with Trudeau during the prime minister’s Kamloops visit on Wednesday, Jan. 9.

The meeting was brief, so Paton used the time to explain what Friendship Day is about and sell the PM on the event.

“I talked to him a bit about the Soap Box Derby and Friendship Day and I kind of told him what I did…,” said Paton. “I asked him if I could do it more Canada wide and the reason I wanted to meet him was I wanted to ask that question. But he didn’t really give a straight answer. He just said that’s a good idea.”

Related: In photos: Ready, set, roll!

Paton noted the prime minister did say he would make a strong leader.

The meeting was organized through North Okanagan-Shuswap Liberal candidate Cindy Derkaz and former Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper.

Paton says he is interested in politics, and is already an astute observer of what it’s like to be a politician.

“I’m kind of interested in the decision making part but I do understand that being high up in politics and making some of the bigger decisions means not everybody is going to like you… It’s probably better to please the majority,” said Paton, noting the various protesters that followed Trudeau on Wednesday helped make that point clear.

Related: Editorial: Kids and inner kids take the wheel at soap box derby

Paton’s mom, Michelle Kuster, was appreciative of the opportunity her son had to meet with the prime minister and acquire some educational exposure to the world of politics.

“I myself am not very involved in politics and I have to admit that now, having Brody have an interest in it, it’s making me want to understand it better and become more involved in it because I think if they don’t have a care, we’re never going to get the things that we want as a country,” said Kuster.


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