Students at five North Island schools were treated to a lesson in Parliamentary democracy recently when the Honourable Linda Reid, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of BC, visited their communities June 8-10 as part of the ‘Speaker in the Schools’ educational outreach program. Dressed in her robes and as a non-partisan representative of the Legislative Assembly, the Speaker brings a unique credibility and perspective to this program that is geared towards children in Grade 5 and 6.
During her visit, Speaker Reid engaged the children in a mock Parliament, debating bills on issues important to them and their communities, such as graduated licensing and bear hunting quotas. Teachers in the participating classrooms were sent a teaching package in advance to prepare the students and help produce a successful visit in which students are challenged, interested and participate in discussion. The debates were lively and inclusive, as children voiced their opinions and voted on motions.
“As a former teacher I enjoy visiting classrooms and engaging children around our democratic system. I trust some of these children will be inspired to serve in the public domain‚“ said Speaker Reid.
The five schools visited were Cedar Elementary in Campbell River, Quadra Elementary on Quadra Island, Sayward Elementary in Sayward and Eagle View Elementary and Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Elementary, both in Port Hardy.
Joining the program at all five of these schools was North Island MLA Claire Trevena, who added her own unique perspective as an elected member in the Official Opposition, explaining what’s involved in representing her constituents in Victoria. Visits by the Speaker to the classroom bring the issues students study to life. Students are encouraged to consider the challenges faced by legislators, to discuss the purposes of the rules of debate, and to ask questions directly of the Speaker.