100th Session of Youth Parliament Manitoba
By Myrna Driedger
Published in the Canstar Metro and Headliner December 31, 2021
Manitoba’s Youth Parliament is one of the oldest youth parliaments in the commonwealth. Beginning in 1922, this organization has evolved over the years. What began as the Older Boys’ TUXIS changed to the Older Boy’s Parliament before becoming the Youth Parliament of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. TUXIS referred to the Training Under Christ in Service movement by the protestant church. Dropping this name in the 1960s meant that people of other religious backgrounds were able to participate. However, it was still geared toward boys. The Youth Parliament of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario came about in the 1970s and fully admitted female members. Today it is the Youth Parliament of Manitoba, a name it has held since 2003.
While Youth Parliament holds a variety of events, their keystone event is their Winter Session. Session for these future leaders is a weeklong model parliament over the winter break. From Boxing Day to New Year’s Eve, participants debate a variety of mock legislation that they have created from topics about which they are so passionate.
Manitoba’s Youth Parliament is run entirely by its impressive young members. As Speaker of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, I have the privilege of hosting their keystone event annually. Young members take their seats in our Chamber and learn the ins and outs of parliamentary procedure. Participants hold titles like Premier, Speaker, and Minister of various portfolios. Former politicians are invited giving these young future politicians an opportunity to learn from people who have held these roles.
2021 is a special year for Youth Parliament of Manitoba. This is the 100th annual session- a remarkable milestone. Just think of the thousands of Manitoba youth who have participated in this organization and honed their debating skills over the years. The lessons learned in this program are ones that each participant can take with them everywhere they go in life. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these young parliamentarians will be participating in a virtual event, similar to how some of the members of our Legislative Assembly are. In-person attendees will be welcomed again at a time when it is safer for all participants.
Year after year, I hear from participants about how much fun they have had and how excited they are to return the next year, sometimes serving on the executive. If you know any youth who would be interested in becoming involved with this amazing organization, check out www.ypmanitoba.ca !