Brianna McKay of Nakusp Secondary School had the chance to sit in the seat of MP Richard Cannings during her tour of the House of Commons in Ottawa. McKay was one of about 120 students who took part in the Forum for Young Canadians

Local youth looks back on Forum for Young Canadians

NSS student takes part in the Forum for Young Canadians in Ottawa.

One local teen had the opportunity to see how our nation is run by taking part in the Forum for Young Canadians.

Brianna McKay, a student at Nakusp Secondary School (NSS), heard about it after taking part in the mock vote held at NSS back in October.

“My teacher (Alex Lowen) was a Page in the House of Commons, and told us about it,” she said. “They (the Forum) sent us a letter telling us about the program. I said ‘That’s really interesting.’ I applied and got in.”

The forum runs for three sessions during February and March each year. Each session is a week-long experience which includes various behind the scenes activities in the nation’s capital city, including Senate and House of Commons experiences, and meeting various political leaders such as MPs and senators.

Over 300 students take part each year. McKay was at the event from March 19 to March 24.

On the first day, students toured Parliament, and got to see the Parliamentary Library, the only part of the original structure that didn’t burn down in the fire of 1916.

Students also received a tour of the Senate, along with the House of Commons. They also walked down the Hall of Honour, the same hall Michael Zehaf-Bibeau ran down during the shootings on Parliament Hill in October 2014.

One highlight for McKay was having the chance to sit in the Senate, and in the chair of MP Richard Cannings. She also had the opportunity to hear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak.

“We had an MP reception, so we invited MPs, and senators, and anybody of high status. He spoke to us directly, and talked about how youth need to get involved, and how we can do it, and make a difference.”

Two years after taking the part, McKay can go back and be a logistics assistant.

“That’s all the paperwork part of it, making sure things are organized. More into the future, maybe I could be a group leader, so I would take about 10 to 15 students and lead them around Ottawa.”

McKay hasn’t ruled out a possible career in Ottawa.

“First I want to go into social work, but maybe in the future I’ll run, or maybe work at Parliament Hill. I’m not quite sure yet.”