By Kayla Perry, Editor-in-Chief
Each year, the Laurentian University Political Science Association (LUPSA) hosts one of LU’s biggest events: Model Parliament.
The mock parliament experience includes a four-day and three-night trip to Ottawa, where students participate in a mock parliament experience on Parliament hill, as one of only three other Canadian universities that actually hosts this experience inside the House of Commons. The event also features a closing gala at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier.
At the forefront of this year’s event, which included approximately 115 student participants, was LUPSA President Kayla May.
May, a fourth-year Laurentian University student, is in her first term as LUPSA President, and wanted to make sure that the event was marketed as an experience which can benefit students from all disciplines.
“Politics is about everything and everyone… It doesn’t matter if you’re a nursing student, an engineering student, or any type of student – you’ll be influenced by politics from the moment you get out of bed. It’s good to have students see that, and for students to get a first-hand experience of how Canadian politics works,” May explained.
This year’s student parliament included a majority NDP government, led by Laurentian University student Anthony Costello, who acted as the Prime Minister.
As always, LU’s President and Vice-Chancellor Dominic Giroux attended the full-day event in the House of Commons, calling the event a “magnificent success” in his blog.
Dominic appeared alongside Chancellor Steve Paikin and Chief of Staff Alex Freedman.
Guest speakers included Rosemary Barton, the host of CBC’s Power and Politics, as well as renowned CTV corresponded Craig Oliver, who told humorous tales of his past experiences with well-known politicians. The choice of speakers was not the norm: in the past, guest speakers have included a majority of politicians. However, by inviting members of the press to speak this year, May said she “thought the participants would get more out of” model parliament.
“By having Barton and Oliver there, who’ve experienced and seen everything in politics, I thought that would be the best experience for everybody because (the students) would really get a sense of how to put (their) ideas into action… They also had the ability to answer questions which politicians may not have been able to answer honestly.”
May holds firm in her belief that the mock experience is one of the best events students can participate in while they’re at Laurentian.
For more information on Model Parliament, visit the association’s Facebook page, LUPSA/ASPUL.
-Photos by Kayla Perry