Northern Ontario community has one of Canada's youngest mayors
Northern Ontario has a new mayor and he's already breaking records.
At 22-years-old, Mayor Frederic Diebel is one of the country's youngest mayors. The Township of Nairn and Hyman appointed him to the vacant slot after the previous mayor resigned.
Diebel already made headlines three years ago as one of the province's youngest councillors in his hometown, located west of Greater Sudbury.
He said his first term in office hasn't gone as expected.
"Being the deputy mayor, it was always in the back of my mind that (the job of mayor) might become available in some extreme circumstance, and here it is," said Diebel.
Council decided to fill the vacant seat by a vote of 2-1 two weeks ago.
It could be a short reign in the mayor's chair -- Ontarians have a municipal election Oct. 24 – but he said he will make the most of the time he has.
"Everyone's reached out and congratulated me, a lot of friends from past political lives contacting me," Diebel said.
"Even some administrators at my school reached out and said 'yeah if there's anything we can make to have your school life better with this additional commitment,' they're right there for me."
The mayor's dance card is full and he's already developing quite an impressive resume. Not only has he held the position of councillor, deputy mayor and now mayor, he's also completed an undergraduate degree and is currently enrolled in law school.
"I'm hoping just to keep the growth going," Diebel said.
"I know council's got a lot of projects on the go and staff has got some projects on the go as we try to recover from a bit of the pandemic. So yeah, we're always in search of new things, new projects to get going in the township so hopefully a new project or two before the fall."
Even with his busy schedule, Diebel's never complained. His mentors, friends and family say they're not surprised.
"Fred's path has been laid down for him for quite some time and hopefully his path will lead to one day provincial or even federal politics," said Michael Mantha, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin.
"He's a community go-getter. He's inspired me, to be very frank with you. He's a very good, community-oriented young man and his comments, his views are ones that I've always welcomed."
His mom, Evelyn Diebel, said her son has been interested in politics since he was very young.
'We are a political family'
"We are a political family, we watch the news continuously and at length discuss many different political scenarios within our community, within our province and within our country," she said.
"So Fred has been privy to listening to that for a very long time."
The youngest of three boys, he laughed when asked if his older brothers will now be referring to him as 'Mr. Mayor.'
"Probably not," Diebel smiled. "I think it's an interesting one, but no I don't think so."
"In the grand scheme of things, I think it's amazing to have people altogether, to make decisions for the people they're elected for," he added.
"I have to remain diligent and keep it in the back of my mind that not everyone is going to think the way you think … That's politics."
Diebel said he's grateful for the opportunity to serve and he's not sure what will be next for him. He's got time to decide if he plans to run again.
He's hoping by serving, it will inspire other young people to put their names forward and represent their communities.
It's not the first time the township has made history or added notches to its belt. In 1899, Nairn and Hyman created a reading camp where teachers would come and teach literacy to local lumber workers. It later grew into a labour-teacher movement and spun the creation of Frontier College.
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