Model parliament set for '97
By Sara Marett
The resurrection of Western's model parliament will take place this weekend as student political groups unite to debate a wide range of current issues.
Due to organizing difficulties, Western's model parliament was not held last year. This year's model parliament commissioner, Courtney Donovan, said she was determined to bring the event back to life.
"The model parliament is a long-standing Western tradition that I was determined to continue this year," Donovan said. She added there is definitely more pressure on her because of last year's cancellation, but that it has been self-imposed pressure.
Regardless of the checkered nature of the event's recent past, Donovan said she has organized a model parliament that will debate issues ranging from child labour to hockey. Members of the Liberal, Progressive Conservative and Young Reformers clubs will be participating in the parliamentary session.
Donovan added the Liberals will be the forming government and the Conservatives will be the official opposition. The Reform party will also be on the opposition side and a total of 10 bills will be presented from the three parties.
The New Democratic Party will not be participating in this year's session. Christie Child, president of the NDP club, said she was notified too late to form a group to participate. "The organizer didn't realize we were a ratified club and, when she found out and invited us to join, it was too late," Child said, adding her members were given the opportunity to fill the remaining seats of the other two parties, but declined.
Dave Palumbo, party leader for the Liberal club, will be acting as prime minister at this weekend's model parliament. "As prime minister, I have overseen all bills and have kept constant contact will all ministers," Palumbo said.
Of the five bills the Liberals are presenting, two are joke bills designed to add humour to the event. One involves the creation of a Canadian National Ministry of Hockey and a proposal Palumbo said he believes will be met with approval. "Our other bills such as the budget and child labour law restrictions will hopefully provide strong debate," he said.
Pablo Frank, president of the Reform club, said 15 members of his group will be participating this weekend. "We hope to offer alternative ideas from the Liberals and Conservatives," he said. The Reform party will be proposing bills involving national pride and language freedom.
The Progressive Conservative party is looking forward to the challenge of facing the majority Liberals, said Stephen Penner, the party's president.
The Conservatives will be looking to amend the Criminal Code and re-instate capital punishment, Penner said. One of the joke bills for the party will be the use a giant head resembling former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to invade Spain in response to the overfishing of turbot in the Atlantic.