The Youth Parliament of Manitoba continued its 89th Winter Session today, but the most exciting part of the day came when our youth parliamentarians had the opportunity to participate in the Bear Pit and Reception with former members of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly.

Besides current session members, and family, friends and alumni of Y PM, former MLAs and Speaker George Hickes attended the evening event. Such guests included Reg Alcock, Clif Evans, Marty Dolin, Harry Schellenberg, Myrna Phillips, Al Mackling, Howard Pawley, Jack Reimer, Reg Alcock and Darren Praznik.

The evening began with a welcome from the Co-Ministers of Alumni Affairs, and the announcement of the annual MLA Essay Contest worth $500. Harry Schellenberg stated that the intent of the essay contest is “to explore and promote the world of politics.”

The next item on the evening’s agenda were the YPM Senate elects, which saw the appointment of three YPM alumni to the senate . The new senators include Paul Taylor (79th – 83rd sessions), Tynne Petrowski (82nd – 86th sessions), and Amy Dhillon (80th – 88th sessions). The appointment of YPM senators is based on their history of longterm commitment to the organization.

Another award that was presented at today’s Bear Pit was the Educator Appreciation Award. This year’s presentation was made by House Leader Alyssa Morrison and was presented to Ed Dow, a history teacher from Stonewall Collegiate in Stonewall, Manitoba. Mr. Dow’s longtime support and recruitment of his history students for YPM made him an excellent recipient for this year’s award. Unfortunately he could not be there to accept the award himself but sent his regards.

The final presentation of the evening was the Alumni Achievement Award. This presentation was made by YPM Speaker Jennifer Pawluk, and this year’s recipient was Darren Praznik (54th – 62nd sessions). Mr. Praznik was recognized for his achievements both in YPM and in his own personal political career as a Manitoba MLA.

Finally, the long-awaited “Q and A” portion of this year’s Bear Pit began; as Reg Alcock, Darren Praznik and Howard Pawley were questioned on a range of topics such as northern Manitoban reserves, voter apathy and mandatory voting, their personal and public lives, and what they felt was their greatest achievements.

Here are some of our favorite quotes from this year’s Bear Pit.

On the public life of a politician:

“If you’re interested in public life, get a mentor.” –  Darren Praznik

On bettering society:

“We will marshall an enthusiasm, an enthusiasm leading us towards a better world.” – Howard Pawley

On obtaining political aspirations:

“You don’t ask for power, you go get it.” – Reg Alcock

On creating positive change:

“We must initiate strong activist action.” – Howard Pawley

On education:

“Education is the greatest raiser of people…. It is with education that we raise our lives.” – Darren Praznik

On our collective Canadian future:

“You cannot build a country and move it forward if you have many grievances” – Darren Praznik

On the hierarchy of life:

“Within systems where there are people with higher positions; it’s not because they are brighter… it’s because they are able to see more.” – Reg Alcock

 

Overall, the Ministry of Alumni Affairs can call this Bear Pit and reception a great success. After the Q and A was over, the members mingled with AFMMLA members over dainties and coffee. It was truly inspirational to see the leaders of the past and the leaders of the future engaging in genuine discussion and debate.

Please see the photo gallery for some more photos from the Bear Pit and reception.

Tomorrow shall mark the second-last full day of session and another jam-packed schedule. Stay tuned!