In 1922, George Stewart, Lieutenant Governor of the Older Boys’ TUXIS Parliament of Manitoba, opened the first of a long line of annual sessions devoted to the development of leadership and awareness of the parliamentary system among the young men (and later, women) of Manitoba. It has since become one of the oldest Youth Parliaments in a network of similar organizations stretching across the country and the world. Although each of these Parliaments has a unique style and emphasis, all are based on the same basic principle of fostering knowledge of the parliamentary system amongst Canadian youth.
Early Years: 1922–1960
The Older Boys’ Parliament program began in Ontario as part of the TUXIS (“Training Under Christ In Service”) movement. Its original sponsors included various Protestant churches, such as the United Church of Canada, the Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches, the Salvation Army, and a variety of service groups such as the YMCA, De Molay and Kiwanis organizations. The movement’s goal was to foster the development of the physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being of the person as inspired by the biblical passage Luke 2:52, which reads: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour.” YPs, only one of many TUXIS activities, were designed for religious as well as parliamentary training. Though most YPs were at one time part of the TUXIS movement, only the TUXIS Youth Parliament of Alberta retains the name to this day.
Notable former members from this period include Bill Norrie, Robert Steen, Wally Fox-Decent and Howard Pawley.
Change and Growth: 1961–1983
In 1960, “TUXIS” was dropped from the name, leaving “Older Boys’ Parliament.” In 1968, it was decided that YPM would expand its focus by becoming open to youth from non-Protestant backgrounds, thereby becoming non-denominational. This meant that the Oath of Allegiance and the legislation placed before the house was no longer written for specific religious groups and with specifically religious purposes in mind.
On December 28, 1972, a special meeting of the organization was held to officially admit women as full members and to change the organization’s name to Youth Parliament of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario (YPMNO). Previously, female members had for some years been allowed to attend session but only as associate members who did not hold the right to vote on the matters debated in the house. Seven years later, Ann Thompson became the first female Premier of YPMNO.
In celebration of its 60th anniversary in 1981, YPMNO hosted a first-of-its-kind invitational session for all YPs in Western Canada. Two years later, the Western Canada Youth Parliament (WCYP) was officially formed, with its second session being hosted again in Winnipeg in the chambers of City Council. Our organization has since hosted WCYP on three other occasions, in 1993, 2002 and most recently in 2010.
Some of our more recent distinguished former members participated in YPM during this period, such as Lloyd Axworthy, Tom Axworthy, Darren Praznik and Patricia Chaychuk.
Recent Years: 1983–Present
The organization successfully incorporated in 1984 and gained full charitable status. In 2003, the organization voted to shorten its name to Youth Parliament of Manitoba (YPM).
In 2007, YPM hosted its first annual Spring Session in Manitoba. In 2008, YPM hosted its first annual Speaker’s Night fundraising dinner. In 2019, it elected its first all-female Executive. In 2021, it will celebrate its 100th annual Winter Session.