Michael Cooper is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to voter apathy among youth.
Cooper, 31, has been engaged in the conservative cause since the age of 14, when he decided to join the provincial Progressive Conservatives.
“I was quite interested in the political process and I felt that rather than sitting on the sidelines it was better to roll up my sleeves and get involved,” said Cooper, who was a great admirer of then-leader Ralph Klein.
Stranger still was that he came from a family that wasn’t particularly active politically.
“Quite often it’s the case that you will see those who are (that) age getting involved because their parents have been involved in campaigns or elected in their own right,” he said, adding that now his parents are much more interested in politics.
Two years later, in 2000, Cooper became a member of the Canadian Alliance, the predecessor to the Conservative Party, and has been moving up the ranks since – serving on the local constituency board, volunteering on campaigns and serving as president for the local riding association.
At 18, he was the youngest member on the National Council of the Canadian Alliance, where he represented Alberta’s priorities on a national stage.
From putting up signs to door knocking to running campaigns, Cooper has been through the election ropes countless times, but this time the face at the door lines up with that on the pamphlets. He said he was encouraged by his network to pursue a seat in Parliament.
“When the nomination opened up a lot of key leaders within the community and within the party approached me and asked me to consider putting my name forward,” he said. “After doing a lot of listening and assessing whether there was support, I felt that given my background I could be a strong and effective voice for the people of St. Albert Edmonton.”
Born and raised in St. Albert, Cooper has an intimate knowledge of the riding he wishes to represent. His experience as a lawyer – attention to detail and analytical thinking – also translates well to the floor in Ottawa.
His focus would be on ensuring he is open and accessible so that he can take the issues that matter to constituents forward to Ottawa.
Cooper is an active member of the community, serving as a lector and a Eucharistic minister at the St. Albert Parish, and as a member of the Knights of Columbus, the St. Albert District of Commerce and the St. Albert Rotary Club.
He also loves to travel. He said his most interesting trip was to Israel in 2006.