Olivia on the Hill: Bélanger and Cannan
CIVIX team member Olivia Dorey is meeting with Members of Parliament to learn about the presence of politicians in schools and how we can build and improve our programs.
Over the past few weeks, Olivia met with MPs Mauril Bélanger and Ron Cannan.
Mauril Bélanger served in the private sector and the municipal public sector prior to taking office. Bélanger has since served as the Liberal MP for Ottawa-Vanier in 1995, and next year will mark his tenth consecutive year in office. Commandeur de l’Ordre de la Pléiade, Officer of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives, and friend of the Royal Canadian Legion, he is a champion of many causes, particularly national unity and linguistic duality. He very willingly visits schools, a role he considers part of his duty as MP.
While la Cité Collégiale and the University of Ottawa are both in his riding, Mr Bélanger estimates that he also has over 40 CÉGEPs, elementary and secondary schools to tend to! He visits schools roughly once per month, often scheduled by teachers he has met. The majority of his school visits are dedicated to the question and answer portion, and he typically spends no more than five minutes on the introductory speech. He often offers Canadian flags to elementary students.
Ron Cannan is the Conservative MP for Kelowna – Lake Country. He has served all three levels of government in his area, and worked in marketing for many years in the private sector. He has served on various school boards, and is the co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. We would like to extend the warmest congratulations to him for the impending arrival of his third grandchild!
Mr. Cannan estimates that he makes half a dozen visits to schools in the run of a year, accepting any invitations that he receives. While he very much enjoys visiting classes of up to 30 students, as this facilitates meaningful conversation, he has also been present at citizenship ceremonies hosted by schools which were very powerful. Whatever form his interaction with students takes, he hopes to impart on them the respect due to their privilege and duty to vote. Mr. Cannan feels very strongly about the influence that the media has on civic education and to combat the misrepresentation or misinterpretation of politics he advises students to read about issues in many different publications.
Stay tuned for more of Olivia’s meetings!
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