Ballenas Secondary students Faith Cook, left, and Ramsay Locke flank Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns during a recent trip to Ottawa. (Photo submitted)

Ballenas students make most of trip to Ottawa

Program helped pair explore Canadian governance, history, and culture

A pair of Ballenas Secondary students made the most of their recent spring break.

Ramsay Locke (Grade 9), and Faith Cook (Grade 10) were in Ottawa from March 17-23 for Encounters with Canada – a nationwide program where students can travel to the nation’s capital to explore aspects of Canadian governance, history, and culture. Their theme was ‘democracy and youth’ and answered some questions about their experience below:

What was the highlight of your trip?

Ramsay: It’s hard to pick one – it was a surreal expereinces. We went to Rideau Hall, the Prime Minister’s house, the House of Commons, the Canadian War Museum, and the Canadian Museum of History (in Gatineau). The views of Ottawa from Gatineau were were stunning!

Faith: Watching question period in the House of Commons, and meeting politicians. We met Gord Johns, our MP, who introduced us to MPs Romeo Saganash Georgina Jolibois, and Jagmeet Singh. I enjoyed the historical buildings as well; they are so detailed.

How did you connect with Gord Johns?

Ramsay: Before arriving in Ottawa, we set up a meeting through Gord Johns’ office. When the time arrived, we took a taxi to the HOC, however, we could not get through security. The armed security guards called Gord Johns who came down to rescue us, and wait with us in line to get through security. Gord gave us a private tour of Parliament and took us to behind-the-scenes meeting places.

READ MORE: Gord Johns invites public to discuss solutions for affordable housing

What did you learn about Canadian democracy?

Ramsay: Romeo Saganash taught us about the bill he is trying to pass to adopt the UNDRIP (the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People), and Georgina Jolibois taught us about her bill on National Indigenous Day.

Faith: I realized that government works at a fast pace, and topics change rapidly in question period. One party was particularly disrespectful in question period, as they were constantly interrupting and heckling.

We were also surprised to see all of the MPs on their phones during question period.

What was the funniest moment?

Ramsay: We had a talent show the last day, and I sang ‘Party in the USA’ by Miley Cyrus.

Would you recommend ‘Encounters with Canada’ to other students?

Yes. 100%, but bring your own pillow – their pillows suck! We met so many friends from across the country, and got to experience the capital while learning about Canadian history and politics.

Encounters with Canada is open to students aged 14-17, and costs $750 including flights, food, accommodation, and programming.

For more information on how students can sign-up for Enconters with Canada, you can visit their website at https://www.ewc-rdc.ca/pub/en.

— NEWS Staff, submitted

Just Posted

Oceanside RCMP: ‘Steal from cars, go behind bars’

Man in custody after pair of vehicles broken into in French Creek; officer breaks ankle during arrest

Large ‘problematic’ tree removed from Qualicum Beach golf course

Lombardy Poplar tree taken down by town, member upset

RDN to share cost of Parksville’s goose harvest

City asked regional district to pay one-third of $35K expense

Parksville’s Arrowsmith Lodge and Cokely Manor celebrate 50 years

Week of ‘60s-themed activities starts on April 26

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Woman who was chased and tackled after break-in sentenced on Vancouver Island

Natasha Geraldine Harris, 28, was sentenced to time served and will be released from jail

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Most Read