Two decades in the House

Conference heads to the House of Commons for the 20th year

QMP returned to the House of Commons this week for their annual conference. See page 6 for the full story.
QMP returned to the House of Commons this week for their annual conference. See page 6 for the full story.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Queen’s Model Parliament (QMP) being hosted in the House of Commons, and, for the first time on record, a speaker of Aboriginal descent is in attendance.

The nearly 60-year-old mock parliament conference, organized by co-chairs Britney Foerter and Christopher Fee, commenced on Tuesday.

“What we really want to do is facilitate a forum for students to get together and debate what is important to them in Canadian politics and society as a whole,” Foerter, ArtSci ’13 said.

The conference this year has 308 student delegates, who debate a bill each hour they’re in the House over the three days.

Part of Foerter’s job is to choose and secure 20 speakers for the conference. The speakers act as the Speaker of the House would in Parliament, and at the end of the hour they get 10 minutes to address the delegates on a topic of their choosing.

This year they’re hosting Betty Ann Lavallée, who is the National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP). The CAP represents Aboriginal peoples who don’t live on reserves.

Jean Crowder, Aboriginal Affairs critic for the NDP, also spoke. She focused her time on the topics of youth and how they don’t vote.

Other speakers include Martha Hall-Findley, who is running for Liberal Leadership, and MP Marc Garneau, the first Canadian man in outer space.

Foerter said she believes that this three-day event is important for students because the younger age demographic doesn’t get involved with politics as much as previous generations.

“It’s interesting to see the bureaucratic things that go into the legislation because we are governed by this legislation every day.”

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