The Brock Young Liberals hosted other political clubs on campus for a two-hour parliament session where they debated a variety of issues including foreign policy, finance and the environment.
Members of the Green Party of Brock and the Brock New Democratic Party (NDP) were present as the opposition. The Brock Conservatives did not make it to the event, and as a result, they were on the receiving end of numerous jokes and playful jabs throughout the night.
Led by Chris Ventura as the Speaker of the House, the session started off with a rendition of “Oh Canada” and opening statements by each party. Next came the Question Period, with ten minutes set aside for each of the six topics.
As the government, the Young Liberals were quick to point out the changes they were making in order to “rectify the total atrocity of the portfolio left behind by the previous government” and much of their rhetoric focused on “real change”.
The NDP, however, representing the official opposition, was much more critical, claiming the government had already broken several promises and that no real changes had been implemented.
“Back in October, the country did elect a government that promised change, but where is that real change?” Gold-Utting asked in his opening statement.
Some of the topics that came up during the Question Period were relations with the United States, gender parity, changing the first-past-the-post election system, corporate taxes, the legalization of marijuana and the protection of the environment.
Ventura, who was one of the founding members of the first Mock Parliament Session, was impressed with the quality of the arguments that were brought up.
“It was a strong debate, very realistic talking points that are similar to the actual government,” said Ventura. “These are the real problems of Canadians.”
The debates became quite heated at times, and the speaker had to use his gavel on numerous occasions to keep order. Members of all parties did not hesitate to trade accusations and take a stab at the non-present Conservatives every now and again.
“What will you do for the working and lower classes instead of helping out our friends on Bay Street?” the NDP asked the Liberals during the finance topic.
“We stand for women and we believe in empowerment. The NDP should be ashamed of themselves for passing [gender quotas] off as sound policy,” the Young Liberals retorted during the electoral reforms topic.
Overall, the participants enjoyed the event and the opportunity to get together with the other political parties and have a realistic debate.
Josh Grant-Young, the sole representative of the Green Party present, talked about the importance with staying up-to-date with the various events on campus and the political climate.
“I like to cultivate an active interest in politics, and as a MA student, it’s important to take an interest in undergraduate activities,” said Grant-Young.
The original idea behind the first Question Period session six years ago was to connect all the student political groups on campus in a fun, yet relevant event.
“It’s great to see it still going as strong as we wanted it to do,” said Ventura.