Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer:
Honourable senators, the 20th annual British Columbia francophone youth parliament took place from January 18 to 21, 2018. It brought together 115 French-speaking youth between the ages of 14 and 25 from across the province. Students from the greater Vancouver area, Vancouver Island, the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan Valley and the Prince George region travelled to Victoria to connect with their francophone selves.
Four bills drafted by young people were debated at the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia as part of the francophone youth parliament. The themes of these bills were youth and alcohol, gender equality in British Columbia, the reform of parenting in British Columbia, and immigration in British Columbia.
These students were able to learn about the legislative process through simulations of parliamentary sessions and participate in workshops and social activities. It was a lighthearted event where they could make friends and have fun. Yann Lacoste, President of the Conseil jeunesse francophone de la Colombie-Britannique, had this to say, and I quote :
The first time I participated in a youth parliament, it really opened my eyes to the scope of the francophonie. This event is a rare opportunity for youth to speak French the way they want to, surrounded by other young people with similar experiences. This event helps young people to become well informed and well equipped in a positive, family-like atmosphere that encourages linguistic security.
Honourable senators, the francophonie in my province, British Columbia, is alive and well. I would like to thank Rémi Marien, executive director of the Conseil jeunesse francophone de la Colombie-Britannique, for this rewarding initiative.
Thanks to young people who want to go to French and French immersion schools, Franco-Columbian culture is flourishing. I am really looking forward to attending next year’s francophone youth parliament and witnessing their excitement and their keen interest in political and social issues.