For some students, March break is a time for relaxation and enjoying a break from learning.
For Sydney Bone, it was a chance to learn about how Canada is run.
She was one of many students from around the country to take part in the Forum for Young Canadians in Ottawa.
The forum runs for three sessions during February and March. Each session is a week long and allows students to experience various behind-the-scenes activities such as taking part in different House of Commons and Senate experiences, and meeting various senators and Members of Parliament.
“There were a lot of simulations we took part in, like how would we change immigration laws, and how we would deal with climate change,” said Bone. “There was one simulation where I was voted to be the Premier of B.C, and it was really overwhelming, because you had to listen to what everyone wanted, and make a platform as to how you would run it. Someone was the Prime Minister and we had to run the three things we wanted for our province.”
Students taking part in the forum had a busy week. They usually left their hotel around 7:30 a.m., headed straight to the Parliament Building where they attended a variety of sessions on subjects. The reviewed how to get into politics, how to make their communities a better place, and what was happening in Canada. They returned to their hotel around 7 p.m.
Bone found the experience to be very educational. She feels the forum is an important experience for young Canadians.
“I definitely recommend it to youth, even if they don’t plan on going into politics,” she said. “It’s not all politics, it’s learning about Canada and how we can make it a better place.”
Some highlights for Bone included watching a very heated session of Question Period, and meeting her idol, Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party.
Bone only recently started getting interested in politics, but realizes how important it is to know who is running the country and what’s going on.
“Last year was the election when Justin Trudeau got voted in, and I didn’t know anything about politics,” she concluded. “I didn’t know the difference between an NDP and a Conservative, or what made a Liberal, and I thought I needed to know this, because we are the new generation, and our vote matters. If I don’t know who I’m voting for to make Canada a better place, that’s not very good.”