Austin Drain, 8, is usually the first one up in his house.
Anywhere between 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. he walks into the living-room, and turns on the TV.
“I like to watch the news. I want to see what’s happening because it’s interesting,” he said.
Austin has a penchant for all kinds of current affairs, even the weather.
“I want to know if it’s going to rain or if there will be a thunderstorm—it will bug my dog.”
Austin said news stories that came to mind right away are bombings in the Middle East and the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women along the Highway of Tears. Those stories made him sad. Fixing troubles in the Middle East is a tall order, but he has a dream of making Canada safe for everyone.
“I want to be Prime Minister,” he said. “If I was Prime Minister, I would keep laws the way they are but I would have one rule for the RCMP. If someone stole or something, I would make the RCMP go after them. I don’t like people who do that. I don’t like people who steal, that’s just mean. I would get them to catch the person (who did the killings) on the Highway of Tears.”
However, he admitted he doesn’t have all the answers to the pressing political questions of today, such as the Trans-Canada pipeline controversy.
“I would not know what to do.” said Austin. “Maybe I would have it, maybe not. It depends on what it costs.”
Sometimes if the news isn’t too interesting, he’ll flip the channel over to Wild Kratts; sometimes he goes on his iPad.
“Lately he’s been interested in science,” said his dad Rob, before asking his son, “What’s the most dangerous thing?”
“Bacteriophage,” answered Austin.
He’s also fascinated with history, an interest he shares with Rob.
They watched (the recent) Wonder Woman (movie), which takes place during the First World War, and that immediately turned into a history lesson. Austin, while playing with the family’s dogs, Mojo and Maya, rattled off in quick succession the order in which the countries declared war on each other.
“He started watching shows about Alexander the Great and Napoleon. Then he would flip over and watch Godzilla,” said Rob laughing.
At school Austin’s favourite subjects are math, gym and reading. He likes fiction and non-fiction.
“I like the Magic Tree House series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the Harry Potter franchise. I like National Geographic.”
When he isn’t delving into politics, history and science, Austin enjoys normal kid stuff, such as playing with his next-door neighbours.
“We play soccer and floor hockey on the kitchen floor with mini-sticks.”
At eight years old (nearly nine because his birthday is on June 23) Austin isn’t really sure what his future holds but he has a few ideas and dreams.
“I would like to be a baker, an electrician or an engineer – maybe Prime Minister. If I was Prime Minister, I would say, ‘No school’,” he says with a mischievous smile.
“I’m just kidding about that – kids can’t vote.”