Start early, learn more — Get a jump-start into provincial politics

Published on August 06, 2019

I believe in getting involved in community service and policy decisions at a young age. It can benefit the cause or policy in question in an effort to include diversity of thought; and it also greatly benefits the youth. We tend to think of the government as a space reserved for adults. To me, youth perspective is such an important component in shaping the government. Although our young people may not yet be able to vote, they can absolutely begin to learn the inner workings of government to strengthen their understanding of how things are done. There are various youth-centric programs available at Queen’s Park that support youth engagement for Ontario students.

The Legislative Page Program is designed for all Ontario students in grades 7 or 8 with an academic average of 80 per cent or higher. Students get to explore provincial politics by serving in the legislature, meeting key figures, and learning about the political system. To think, we could be inspiring future members of Ontario’s cabinet — both the minister of Labour and attorney general of Ontario were notable pages!

Another program offered is Ontario Model Parliament. It is a three-day program that is offered for both students in high school (grades 10 to 12) and those attending a recognized college or university. One hundred and twenty-four students are chosen to represent their riding in a model parliament. Students learn about the provincial government, meet key political figures, and participate in mock debates and question periods. For more information, or to apply to any of these available programs, please visit https://www.ola.org/en/visit-learn/programs.

Encouraging civic engagement at a young age can result in a head start for our youth to gain civic literacy, and become active civic citizens. I fully support making the youth aware of public policy, and any potential government related issues that will ultimately impact their futures. Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best — "we cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future."