2017 Forum for Young Canadians Program
This past February and March Trafalgar Castle students Crystal and Erika participated in the 2017 Forum for Young Canadians Program. The weeklong program offered both girls the opportunity to explore the inner workings of Canada’s governmental system including the House of Commons, Senate, and visiting Rideau Hall for a session with the Governor General. Other highlights helping the girls to learn more about Canada’s political system and all the elements that make it work included attending Question Period, Senate council meetings, and a reception with their local MPs.
“The biggest thing I learned personally is how to be in an environment where people have differing political opinions than you,” Erika shares. “I am used to being around people whose views are within the same end of the spectrum as mine, but at Forum you had youth from all over Canada with very diverse positions in politics.”
Erika thoroughly enjoyed going through a series of simulations and learning how things are really done in parliament. She explained that after spending the day on The Hill, it was rewarding to go back with her fellow attendees to discuss and debate the day’s events. “Having to interact and work together to sort things out is a challenge, but it is a skill that will greatly benefit me now, and into the future.” Erika has a passion for international relations and plans to continue to learn more about international politics in her post-secondary education at Queen’s University.
Like Erika, one of the most memorable parts of the trip for Crystal was having the opportunity to meet youth from all over Canada. “It was interesting to get a feel of how things are so similar but, in the same way realize how different people are and how their personalities interact,” Crystal shares.
Crystal became interested in politics after discussing the election and engaging in conversations about social issues with family friends who work for the government back home in China. Despite knowing a lot about the Chinese political system, Crystal yearned to know more about how the Canadian political system worked, the differences between the liberal party and conservative party, and how the two parties interacted to meet priorities and goals for all Canadians.
While at Question Period Crystal witnessed an intense situation, this situation later made the news as she watched from her hotel room: “It was an amazing opportunity to be witness to first hand information before it made the news.” Other highlights for Crystal included touring parliament and sitting in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s seat at the House of Commons. Upon returning to China for March Break Crystal attended a lecture by former US Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton, Dr. William Perry. “I’m interested in learning more about politicians and public figures’ careers and lives,” Crystal shares.
The Forum was a positive, knowledge enhancing experience for Erika and Crystal. Both girls left feeling inspired by the brilliant group of students from across Canada they had the opportunity to meet.