In this special Maclean’s report, we profile Canada’s future leaders: an elite group of young people who are outstanding in their fields, from sport and engineering to medicine and politics.
Meet Trevor Loke
School: Thompson Rivers University
Program: Bachelor of public administration
Whose leadership inspires you? Carl Sagan (astrophysicist)
Trevor Loke’s first run at political office came as a protest. After two neighbours on his street in Surrey, B.C., were killed in gang-related attacks in 2009, Loke organized rallies that attracted hundreds of protesters, cabinet ministers and local mayors. His efforts also caught the notice of the B.C. Green Party, which asked Loke, then 20, to run in the provincial election. A long shot, he instead spent most of the campaign working to elect Vicki Huntington, an independent MLA from Delta. Impressed by his work, she hired him on a six-month contract to help set up her constituency office.
Loke’s second foray into politics came the following year, when the Vancouver Park board cancelled his hockey team’s fundraiser at a local community centre to give the venue to another event. Incensed, Loke pestered park commissioners, who eventually reinstated the fundraiser—and then asked Loke if he was interested in running for the board in 2011. This time he won, making Loke, now 25, Vancouver’s youngest elected official. Over the past three years, Loke has tackled several ambitious issues, including reducing chlorine levels in city pools and spearheading a single membership card for the city’s 24 community centres. In doing so, he locked horns with neighbourhood groups keen to maintain control over their local facilities. (Six groups have challenged the board in court.)“It really spoke to the issue of communities being their own silos,” says Loke.
When not setting policy, Loke found the time to launch a crowd-funding platform for non-profit groups, called Weeve, which he sold to Vancouver-based LX Ventures last year for an undisclosed sum. He also consults for Nextdoor.com, a San Francisco tech start-up. His long-term goal is to apply to law school, but for now, he’s focused on his re-election campaign in October. Far from being a handicap in politics, Loke says his youth has been an advantage: “There are not a lot of people, when they look at me, who necessarily think ‘politician,’ and that’s a good thing,” he says. “They don’t prejudge you.”
Interviewed by Tamsin McMahon