Young Wetaskiwin leader visits Ottawa

Young Wetaskiwin leader visits Ottawa

WCHS student Emily Briand part of ‘Young Canadians’ program

One of Wetaskiwin Composite High School’s young leaders recently gave a presentation on an impressive visit she had to Parliament Hill.

WCHS Grade 11 student Emily Briand spoke to the board of trustees of Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools during their regular meeting Apr. 9. Briand gave the trustees a wrap-up of her trip to Ottawa through the Forum for Young Canadians program, a program begun in 1976 for Canadians aged 15 to 19 that teaches about the importance of the federal government and how Canadians can get involved in it.

“I highly recommend the program to any high school student who wants to learn more about how the Canadian government works,” said Briand to the board of trustees.

Briand narrated a slideshow of her recent trip to Ottawa and everything it entailed. The trip was an eye-opening experience she stated, and she had a chance to meet national leaders, politicians and officials at every turn as part of a group of students who represented every part of the nation.

Brian said she met Defense Minister Harjeet Singh, then Speaker of the House Geoff Regan, who gave the visiting students a crash course on how insults in the House of Commons are handled.

Briand said she met a number of other MPs and government officials.

Of course, she also met with local Edmonton-Wetaskiwin MP Mike Lake, who gave her a personal tour of Parliament Hill. In one grim stop, Lake pointed out gunshot holes that remained from the 2014 Parliament Hill shooting.

Briand said the Parliament buildings are very impressive and she stated that anyone who has interest in seeing them should do so before scheduled renovations begin in 2019.

The WCHS student didn’t just listen to politicians though, she got a chance to speak up too. Briand said she made a 60 second speech in the House of Commons and spoke about education, a cause close to her heart. She even got to sit in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s seat.

Another remarkable experience was a visit to the Supreme Court of Canada. Briand said she’d like to work in law someday and so visiting the top court in the land was an incredible experience.

The group of forum students also engaged in a simulated First Ministers conference.

Briand noted the Forum for Young Canadians requires participants to fundraise, and she said her trip was the result of help from many business, groups and people: WRPS, Manluk Industries, Dyck Insurance, Bruce and Irene Finkel, Mayor Tyler Gandam, The Davis family, Cliff Briand and Suzanne d’Entremont and Rose and Duane Brian.

More information about the Forum for Young Canadians is available online at