Leaders of tomorrow meet in Victoria

Members of Youth Parliament reconvene over Christmas break

More than 90 youth will arrive in Victoria from around the province to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s attending the B.C. Youth Parliament.

“We had a large number of applications this year. We had a substantial waiting list by our standards,” said Dora Turje, BCYP registrar. “It’s good to know that a lot of people heard about it and were interested in joining.”

The Youth Parliament is in its 83rd year and is open to youth between the ages of 16 and 21. It is a non-partisan, non-denominational service organization that creates service projects to help improve the lives of young people.

It also organizes regional youth parliaments, which are parliaments designed for 14-18 year olds that are run in the different regions of B.C. in order to allow more youth to experience debate-building education in parliamentary procedures.

One of the events is the British Columbia Youth Parliament. The young people participating represent all areas of the province. “It doesn’t match directly with how the electoral districts are in the legislature, but it’s proportional,” said Turje.

Fifteen youth from Vancouver Island will be participating in the parliament which began in 1924 as the older boys parliament. Every year they meet in the legislative buildings in Victoria and debate a variety of legislation that outlines projects that will then be run throughout the year. In addition, private members resolutions are introduced giving members the ability to debate any issue they choose, while still participating in a practical lesson on the parliamentary process.