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MD council inspiring the future of politics

20.12.02.MD student presentations
The MD of Bonnyville is hoping to inspire local youth to consider a career in politics. File Photo.

BONNYVILLE - The MD of Bonnyville is hoping to inspire the next generation of politicians.

Motivated by the City of Cold Lake's current program and a recent run-in with some very curious students, Reeve Greg Sawchuk suggested they start offering presentations at local schools.

He explained how during a trip with the MD's school resource officers to an area classroom, he was bombarded with questions about his and council's role in the community.

"It went on and on, and they had all sorts of questions," exclaimed Sawchuk during their Wednesday, Feb. 12 council meeting.

Part of the Grade 6 curriculum is discussing the various levels of government in Canada. Currently, the City of Cold Lake offers a program that will have the council chamber come to the classroom or vice-versa.

"I attended a session with the mayor where they had a class come into their council and they picked seven kids at random and threw them up in the councillors’ seats and had them go through a budget,” Sawchuk outlined. “They gave them so many millions of dollars and said ‘this amount you have to spend on your staff, you have to keep the basics,’ and then they had some things they could play with. They had to have a conversation about where they spend money and it was good.”

He continued, “You saw some kids that had a lot of thought behind where things were going and others who automatically took up an agenda and were after a certain thing.”

Sawchuk believes the MD could offer something very similar, where a member of council makes a presentation to a class and then has them take part in an activity, whether that means the students are responsible for crunching the numbers of a budget or creating a bylaw.

“Cost-wise, there isn’t a whole lot for us to do," expressed Sawchuk.

Council is hoping that by speaking with local youth, they can "put a better face on politicians," he added.

to get the ball rolling, the MD is reaching out to the school boards within their district and letting them know they will soon have the chance to bring council right into their classrooms.

“Cold Lake is doing some of their schools already, so there’s no need to double-up, but right now, for sure the schools in the MD aren’t being provided with anything,” Sawchuk noted.

Coun. Marc Jubinville was in favour of the idea.

"It can be a career for someone," he said.

Meagan MacEachern, Bonnyville Nouvelle