This 91st Session of YPM is now well under way. Debate has been lively as ever, with seldom a dull moment during deliberations on the six acts presented thus far. As we reach the halfway point of Winter Session, we now pause our debate as we do every year, to honour our distinguished alumni and former MLAs at YPMs annual Bear Pit and reception.
The Bear Pit is an opportunity for current members of the session to ask former MLAs – the ‘bears’ – questions on any topic that interests them. This year’s Bears are Ms. Diane McGifford, Mr. Rey Pagtakhan, and Mr. Harold Taylor. In addition it is an opportunity to recognize truly remarkable members who have worked tirelessly for the organization. This year, Alyssa Morrison and Darcy Vermuelen will be appointed to YPMs Senate in recognition for their work on behalf of the organization. We congratulate them on this achievement, and know that our “Momma Bear” and 90th Speaker will be wonderful additions to the Senate.
Alumni and friends are invited to join us. Proceedings begin at 6:30pm with a reception to be held directly following the Bear Pit in the rotunda. We at the 91st Session are very excited to see and meet all of you.
This year’s Speaker’s Night, which took place on June 7th, 2012 was one to remember. True to its name, five “Speakers” were in attendance for YPM’s 5th Annual Speaker’s Night: Former House of Commons Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie, Former House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken, Speaker of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly Daryl Reid, YPM Deputy Speaker Brent Hardy and YPM Speaker Darren Haber.
The night featured a keynote address by former Canadian MP and Manitoba MLA Bill Blaikie, also a YPM alumnus and our current Honourary President. YPM also had the tremendous honour of hearing from Former House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken, the longest-serving speaker in Canadian House of Commons history. We were also honoured to have numerous Manitoba MLAs in attendance to support the organization and its mission.
The Youth Parliament of Manitoba Executive would like to thank the alumni, members, parents, MLAs, dignitaries, friends and supporters who came out and made Speaker’s Night a success. We would also like to thank YPM alumni Michael Urban (79th to 85th), Dana Gregoire (79th to 86th), Sachin Kumar (81st to 83rd) José Castillo Pilcol (84th), Jennifer Pawluk (82nd to 89th) and others who donated to the evening despite not being able to attend.
December 28th was a busy day for Youth Parliament of Manitoba. After a morning and afternoon of rigorous debate on mock legislation, Youth Parliament of Manitoba concluded its third day of sittings with its annual Bear Pit and Alumni Reception.
Preceding the Bear Pit, Alyssa Morrison gave an impassioned speech in memory of Reg Alcock, Youth Parliament of Manitoba’s past Honourary President who tragically passed away this year.
YPM also honoured Mr. George Hickes, former speaker of the Manitoba Legislative. Recognizing that members of the community deserve recognition for their support of YPM, the Educator Appreciation Award was rededicated in honour of Mr. Hickes and named the “George Hickes Community Outreach Award”. This new award recognizes educators and other members of the community for their outstanding support of YPM and its mission.
After a Bear Pit which included former MLAs Al Mackling, David Faurschou, Myrna Phillips and George Hickes, current and former members joined the former MLAs in the Rotunda of the Manitoba Legislature for a reception where they had the opportunity to peruse legislation from the past six decades, mingle and reconnect with one another.
It gives me great pleasure to greet you as Premier of the 90th Youth Parliament of Manitoba as preparations for our 90th Winter Session begin in earnest. Although your time as a member of YPM has past, each of you has played a part in YPM’s rich history. The approach of our 90th Winter Session gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we each have taken away from our experience in YPM, and likewise how we contributed to its history.
The current Parliamentary Executive and Cabinet are hard at work planning our historic 90th Session. This Winter Session we hope to reunite as many former Youth Parliamentarians as we can at our Annual Bear Pit and Alumni Reception, to take place on December 28th, 2011. Whether you were in YPM 5, 10, or 20 years ago, we hope you take this opportunity to renew your connection with YPM and with the friends you made during your time in the organization.
90th Youth Parliament of Manitoba
As part of the planning for this year’s milestone session, the YPM Executive and Cabinet would like to host a commemorative event on December 28th as part of the annual Bear Pit. However, as we haven’t exactly been the only ones running the show for the last 90 years, we feel it’s just not our event to plan. So, we would love your input in the process!
We have discussed a number of ideas, but are now looking for a way to really make this evening special. Do you have any ideas? Maybe even want to help out with planning the event? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about it!!! Our plan is to blend a commemorative event with the annual Bear Pit by extending the reception afterwards, and transforming the rotunda into a “Walk through YPM’s Past”. The organization has such wonderful and extensive archival material (at the Manitoba Archives), it’s such a shame it’s hasn’t been viewed more.
So there you have it – a sneak peek at what awaits you at this year’s session of Youth Parliament of Manitoba. Take this chance to really reconnect with the organization, and to mark a very important time in the history of our historic institution. We love hearing from alumni and getting your feedback, so send it my way! (Seriously, love your feedback!)
All the best,
90th Youth Parliament of Manitoba
Reg Alcock, Honourary President of YPM and former Liberal MP, tragically passed away yesterday morning after suffering a heart attack.
Reg Alcock was a dear friend and supporter of Youth Parliament of Manitoba. For the past two years Reg Alcock has served as YPM’s Honourary President. In those two years he contributed his expertise, knowledge and support in many ways. In 2010, Mr. Alcock was instrumental in planning our third annual Speaker’s Night dinner and this past year he acted as Master of Ceremonies for our fourth annual Speaker’s Night. As Honourary President, Mr. Alcock also took the time to address and encourage YPM’s membership, keenly observed our sittings on numerous occasions, and participated in our annual Winter Session Bear Pit.
Mr. Alcock was a great supporter of YPM’s mission to educate and engage young people in the democratic process. He appreciated the transformative nature of YPM, emphasizing this when he addressed the members of our 88th Winter Session:
“…for many of you attending, the Youth Parliament of Manitoba’s Winter Session will be something you never forget. For many of you, it may be a life changing experience—changing the way you view politics, the world, and our nation. I know that for at least one of you, your experience here will change the path that you will choose to take in your life and you will forever know that your passion developed here in the Legislative chamber…”
To see such a dedicated public servant pass away before his time is truly tragic. However, his death reminds us that although our time on this earth is limited, in the end we must measure our lives by the change we affect, the lives we touch and people we inspire. Through his support of YPM, there is no doubt that Mr. Alcock touched the lives of many young Manitobans and for this we owe him an incredible debt of gratitude. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family. He will be missed.
On August 22nd, 2011, Jack Layton, Canadian politician and leader Canada’s official opposition passed away of cancer. While not all Canadians may have agreed with his political ideas or aspirations, his contributions to the Canadian political landscape cannot be disputed. Jack Layton was widely respected as a man of energy, optimism and enthusiasm for the Canadian democratic process. In his final letter to Canadians, Jack Layton had a special message to young Canadians:
“All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.”
That Mr. Layton took the time to address young Canadians in such a manner embodies his respect for and hope in the young people of Canada. As Mr. Layton mentions, many great challenges lay before us. It will be up to the youth of today to find solutions to the problems of tomorrow. It is our hope that Mr. Layton’s words inspire young Canadians to learn about and become involved in the Canadian democratic process. Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Layton’s family and loved ones.
On July 18th, members of the Youth Parliament of Manitoba executive will be meeting with Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Democratic Reform. At this meeting we will have the chance to discuss a number of issues that Mr. Uppal is currently working on, including:
- Fair representation in the House of Commons
- Reform of Canada’s Senate
- Initiatives to increase voter participation
Needless to say, we are extremely excited to be able to provide a youth perspective on these issues! This is the kind of discussion that could lead to very good material for legislation this winter. Is there anything you would like to see us discuss?
Thanks to the hard work and help of Paulo Fernandes of PieffeDESIGN, for many years Youth Parliament of Manitoba’s website has been a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, students, and members of the YPM community. In the recent years, however, YPM’s website had begun to show its age. We would like to begin by thanking Paulo for his past work on the YPM website. His expertise has been and continues to be a wonderful resource for the organization. With the advice and guidance of Paulo and other members of the YPM community, we have successfully transitioned our website to a format that will allow us to provide updates more easily and frequently.
Our hope in launching this new website was to make the most relevant information easy to find. We hope you find this new website both easier to navigate and more informative.
Another goal for this website was to make it more interactive. You will notice that along the top of the navigation bar we have links to our Twitter, Facebook and Flickr pages, our LinkedIn Alumni group, our Wikipedia page and the RSS feed for our blog. We hope to keep our community in the loop through regular updates to this blog, so subscribe to our RSS feed if you use an RSS reader like Google Reader. We’ll also be posting links to our blog posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And please leave your comments in the section below!
If you have any ideas on how to improve our website to make it easier to navigate or find information please let us know, we would love to hear your feedback!