Mackenzie Thomason became involved in politics in 2015 at the age of 18. He began with phone banking and canvassing for Fredericton NDP candidate Sharon Scott Levesquez, but he drew attention when he ran in the 2018 provincial election at 21.
Thomason describes himself as stumbling into politics almost accidentally, after seeing those less fortunate and being drawn to make a change.
“There's people that are not in a position that I have been fortunate to have. There's people who don't have enough, and people who have way too much. That, to me, shouldn't exist in the same society. And that's what got me into politics. That's what drew me to the NDP,” said Thomason.
Thomason ran as the New Democrat Party candidate in New Maryland-Sunbury as the youngest candidate nominated in the riding. Despite losing the race, he became interim leader of the New Brunswick NDP in March of 2019.
He wants to use his platform to engage what he describes as an “alienated” demographic—the 18 to 24 year olds. He hopes that seeing a candidate their own age will inspire younger voters to become more involved and use their political voice, which he believes they’ve lost after been overlooked.
“Statistically speaking the 18 to 24 year old voters, that is the vote that comes out the least on average” said Thomason.
He says he doesn’t believe this is because of apathy or laziness as most people assume, “It’s that students and young people in the 18 to 24 year old group don't see policy and people that they can relate to,” he said.
Thomason advocates for a few reformations to the current electoral system that would do more to include the younger groups, such as lowering the voting age to 17 and increasing Young MLA and MP programs, provincially and federally.
Thomason believes that will get more young people involved in politics and believe they “can actually change things right now”.
He also expressed passions for healthcare, free tuition, universal pharmacare and improved Aging in Place facilities.
Thomason advocates for electoral reform, specifically towards a mixed member proportional system, which he hopes will be a high priority issue in the next four years after the Liberals promised it in 2015. He believes this will allow for more diverse ideas into the House of Commons.