Olivia at the New Canada Conference

September 9th, 2014 by Olivia Dorey

Last week I had the honour of joining 99 other youth delegates from across Canada at the New Canada Conference in Charlottetown, PEI. The conference was held to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference and the conception of Canadian confederation. Our time on the island was short and our task was lofty: we were to conceive a vision for the next fifty years in Canada. In short, we were asked to design a new Canada. 


Many elements were recurrent throughout all eight working groups and pervaded most discussions. We spoke of sustainability, national identity, leadership and without fail, each group stressed the need for a complete overhaul of relationships with the indigenous peoples of Canada. We considered our place in the world, our duties, our values, and were both daunted and inspired by how much there is to be done.

When it came to getting down to work, we faced a novel problem: our categories, in my case civic engagement and social cohesion, were broad, and differences in our individual experiences and perspectives were staggering. We brought to the table such variations in expertise and priorities that it was a challenge just to define our goals. We had a glimpse of what it is to govern a country as diverse and vast as ours, and at the end of our three day ordeal, we were exhausted. 


Something remarkable happened last week. The delegates of the New Canada Conference had the opportunity to draw a blueprint for Canada without having to consider elections and political ideology. The difference between the short-term vision that is so often held for those very reasons were gone and we were able to imagine building a truly great country. 

Without a long-term strategy, very few of the elements of our vision are possible. It is going to take co-operation and collaboration between political parties, communities, and identity groups. Successive governments must build on the labors of one another with a common vision in mind. We recognize the cynicism and apathy around us, and we are determined to work through it and bring this country along with us. We are proud of our work, but we’ve really only just begun. Hopefully, fifty years from now our efforts will have paid off and we will be living in a new Canada. 

Olivia Dorey is the Parliamentary Outreach and Research Officer for CIVIX.

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Olivia on the Hill: Thibeault, Goodyear, Sopuck and Gosal

July 10th, 2014 by Olivia Dorey

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. 

Today’s blog recaps Olivia’s meetings with MPs Glenn Thibeault, Gary Goodyear, Robert Sopuck and Bal Gosal.


Meet Mr. Thibeault; NDP MP for Sudbury. In Ontario, there are a great many different categories of school boards; there are separate and public, English and French, and Mr. Thibeault’s riding happens to contain all four of them! His civic education didn’t begin until late in life while he was pursuing a career in journalism, before which he had never spoken to a politician. He attributes a large part of his success in the 2008 election on fifteen devoted high school students.

Glenn Thibeault

His most important message to students is that he works for them, telling them that “you are my boss. You talk to your parents about your issues!” and asking them if they think that politics is important. He tries to convey to them that his decisions “now make the most impact on you because you have to live with them the longest,” and to make sure that they research all the parties – Rhinoceros included – before they vote. As for him, he teases them that he’ll be tracking them down when they turn 18, but is content to help make them civic-minded in the meantime.

You can also visit Glenn Thibeault’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Meet Mr. Goodyear; Conservative MP for Cambridge-North Dumfries. He had worked in the auto mechanic industry and the healthcare industry, but it was only when a friend asked him to join that he considered politics. He calculated that over his twenty years as a chiropractor, he had helped roughly 14,000 people, so he decided to give it up so that he could serve 130,000 every year. Mr. Goodyear happily invites students to follow him for a day on the Hill, or to drop by his offices.

Gary Goodyear

When asked about his own civic education, he grimly reported that it was “zero,” and continued to speak firmly on the current state of affairs: “it’s up to the federal government to help education because we’re passing too many kids who are graduating without being able to make a dollar, let alone understand the political process.” That said, he is hopeful because he sees lots of young people who have plans and ambitions to pursue careers in different fields and eventually make their way in politics, but is disappointed that – for the time being – this mind-frame is fairly contained to the infamous Ottawa-bubble.

You can also visit Gary Goodyear’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Meet Mr. Sopuck; Conservative MP for Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette. Imagine being responsible for fifteen small high schools, another fifteen-odd junior highs and elementary schools, plus five First Nations schools and ten Hutterite colonies. Now imagine that they are spread over 55 square kilometers, or, roughly the size of Denmark; this is a day in the life of Mr. Sopuck! He spoke about his riding with great fondness and pride, describing the interests and aptitudes of the young people in his small communities, and the adults “interesting dynamic between discipline and strong affection” for the children in his many Hutterite communities.

As far as he is concerned, his riding has everything, and chuckled that he “is the riding!” His role is to share how the decisions of the government has such an impact on the students, and goes so far as to say that is the overall importance of broader education; to learn how to take control of your life.

You can also visit Robert Sopuck’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Meet Mr. Gosal; Conservative MP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton. Because of his portfolio as the Minister of State (Sport), he often has the chance to spend time with student athletes, but makes a point of making a visit to a classroom about once a month. He does his best to follow-up and keep in touch with the students through social media, and is always pleased when the school partakes as well.

Bal Gosal

His goal is to “make them aware of how the educational and political systems work.” He has worked with young people as a soccer coach, and on board of the Christians Aid Society, and now engages them by consulting student councils. He is of the belief that “when kids are involved in sports, you will see them excel in education as well.”

You can also visit Bal Gosal’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.

Stay tuned for more of Olivia’s meetings!

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Olivia on the Hill: Shipley, Eyking and Garrison

July 8th, 2014 by Olivia Dorey

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. 

Today’s blog recaps Olivia’s meetings with MPs Bev Shipley, Mark Eyking and Randall Garrison.


Meet Mr. Shipley; Conservative MP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, which is larger than PEI, and contains six reserves. His own civic education took place not in school, but hands-on in the community; his first role as a ‘deputy’ was as an arbitrator, settling disputes along property lines.

Bev Shipley

He was thrilled to hear about the Student Budget Consultation, exclaiming that “this is really, really important, this thing you’re doing! We don’t get that kind of training in school”. Mr. Shipley sees visits to school as part of his role as a federal representative because “the administration of schools is provincial, but bringing knowledge of the political field is everyone’s responsibility.” Teachers, he says, make all the difference in class visits, and suggests that if a class isn’t well prepared, then that present a barrier between him and the students.

You can also visit Bev Shipley’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Meet Mr. Eyking; Liberal MP for Sydney-Victoria. From the get-go, he made it clear that students should know that their elected representatives are concerned about their thoughts. He was interested in the Rep Day program, because he believes that it is important to “create a forum in which students can ask the hard questions.” Mr. Eyking suggested that while it’s important for teachers and students to be prepared, that Members of Parliament should be prepared for these visits to classes too!

Mark Eyking

Being the representative of a very rural riding, he has many schools to tend to, and long distances to travel between; for example, his riding boasts no less than eight high schools and three First Nations schools. He calls on students to get involved with a party – “doesn’t matter which!” – and acknowledges that it’s “very important to have role models when you’re starting out.”

You can also visit Mark Eyking’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Meet Mr. Garrison; NDP MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. As one of the few openly gay parliamentarians, he shared some of the impacts that has had on his interactions with students and schools is his riding. He often has the chance to visit social issues classes to discuss his job and the LGBT community. Before becoming an MP, he was a college educator for twenty years, specializing the areas of criminal justice and politics.

Randall Garrison

Many MPs are confronted with difficulties in involving themselves into the schools in their communities, though many send out annual letters introducing themselves and offering their time. Mr. Garrison was no exception, but when he didn’t receive much response from the administration, he built a network of individual teachers who now frequently invite him to discuss with their students.

You can also visit Randall Garrison’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.

Stay tuned for more of Olivia’s meetings!

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Olivia on the Road: Winnipeg

April 17th, 2014 by Olivia Dorey

‘Olivia on the Hill‘ hit the road last Thursday when I flew out to Winnipeg, Manitoba to accompany Andrew Scheer, the Speaker of the House of Commons, at his first parliamentary outreach event. I arrived about 8 hours early for the event, so if you ever have a day to spend in the city, I can advise wandering The Forks with confidence! We finally met at the Fort Garry Hotel, along with Sonia L’Heureux, the Parliamentary Librarian, and John Beebe of Samara to start the event.

As people filed in, I chatted with teachers, community leaders and Nathan Unrau, an extremely cool 14-year-old who launched a program called Lunches With Love. The attendees were the guests of the Winnipeg-area MPs, four of whom were able to attend: Joyce Bateman, Joy Smith, Lawrence Toet and Rod Bruinooge. We caught up with them again the next day for, as Mr. Scheer called it, a ‘blitz’ of school visits!

I was offered the stage to open the ceremonies, and took the opportunity to do a ‘SparkNotes’ review of our programs, to thank the Speaker and his staff for the invitation, and most importantly to thank our teachers. It would be impossible for us to run the programs that we do without their enthusiasm, dedication, and inspiration.

Friday was a whirlwind tour of the Winnipeg downtown as I was lucky enough to accompany Mr. Scheer on his visits to five schools. As he exclaimed a handful of times, there were a lot of great questions asked by students. Here are a few examples:

  • How do you run as a candidate?
  • What kinds of skills do you need to be an MP?
  • What personal sacrifices are required to be an MP?
  • What is the most rewarding part of the job?
  • What was the most difficult ruling Scheer has made as Speaker?
  • Does the Speaker get to vote in the House of Commons?
  • Are MPs allowed to abstain from voting?
  • Are MPs allowed to change parties?
  • What do the people at the big table in front of the Speaker’s chair do?

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!

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Olivia on the Hill: Brown and Calkins

March 27th, 2014 by Olivia Dorey

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. 

Today’s blog recaps Olivia’s meetings with MPs Lois Brown and Blaine Calkins.


Lois Brown is the Conservative MP for Newmarket-Aurora, and Parliamentary Secretary for International Development. Also attending our meeting were Charlotte Smith and Julia Wilton who were participating in the University of Toronto’s Women in House program. Brown spoke very strongly about her stance on civic education and assuming the “responsibility to engage young people.” Her riding is composed of 57 schools, nine of which are high schools. 

Lois Brown

Many of her visits to classes are set up in a rather unusual way; when she meets young people in the riding, she offers them her business card and her time on the condition that the young person takes the initiative to set up the class visit and to introduce her. She says that this is both empowering and engaging for the student responsible and for the class as a whole. 

Needless to say, she enjoys those class visits, but she is also deeply invested in having an ongoing presence in schools through a more ceremonial route. Each year, she sends a Remembrance Day wreath to four schools in her riding: one separate and one public elementary, and one separate and one public high school. It is her hope that by the time she leaves office, each school will have one of her wreaths as a reminder of “what their freedom cost… If they understood that – really understood- getting them to vote would be a no brainer.” That annual reminder, she hopes, will be her legacy. 

You can also visit Lois Brown’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Blaine Calkins is the Conservative MP for Wetaskawin where, in 2011, he was elected with over 80% of the popular vote, and just over 55% of the Student Vote. While reviewing the highlights of the Student Budget Consultation, he expressed concern that only six out of ten students believe that the government should place a high priority on environmental protection related to natural resource extraction.

He speaks very highly of his current workplace, dubbing it a “space of collective wisdom.” His own civic education started with paying taxes, grew directly and indirectly through his service as a public servant, and he eventually discovered Preston Manning, whose party he joined in 1996; only ten years separated his first membership and his election to federal office. 

Blaine Calkins

Having been a professor himself, Calkins thoroughly enjoys making class presentations. He uses his own 45 minute long, interactive PowerPoint to run the students through representation by population and the Senate, the nomination and election processes, a day-in-the-life both in Ottawa and in the riding, how bills are passed, the role of committees and caucus, the people and places of the Hill, the ‘cool’ parts of the job and, finally, how he balances it all. He calls on teachers to encourage their students to write letters to him about their concerns and interests, as he always hand-writes replies to “genuine, non-form letters.”

When he left University with his degree in Zoology, he says that he “would have laughed at you if you told me I was going to be an MP! I’m just a farm-boy from Lacombe who said I’ll come [to Ottawa] if you’ll have me.” As far as he is concerned, he has a leadership role in his community in educating constituents about their rights and responsibilities, and wants young people to know that “I often think, if I only had the confidence at 18 or 20 that I do now! You can do anything. There are no things I can’t do, only things I haven’t done.”

You can also visit Blaine Calkins’ website and Member of Parliament Profile.

Stay tuned for more of Olivia’s meetings!

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Olivia on the Hill: Braid, Young and Brahmi

March 26th, 2014 by Olivia Dorey

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. 

Today’s blog recaps Olivia’s meetings with MPs Peter Braid, Wai Young and Tarik Brahmi.


Peter Braid is the Conservative MP for Kitchener-Waterloo and Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Communities. His political journey has come full circle, having worked for an MP himself as a university student! He views his role in civic education as an effective educator, particularly where the division of power is concerned, but also as the link between awareness and engagement. 

Peter Braid

While both ceremonial and educational visits to students of all ages are enjoyable, it has been in his experience that high school students are more likely to “talk about big issues.” Braid came up with a plan for visits with younger students: he starts by telling them why he became an MP and about the difference between his role during an election and as their elected representative. Then he splits the class into groups with one MP per group; their task is to come up with a piece of legislation which the ‘MP’ presents to the class and is voted upon. After this exercise, Braid opens the floor to more questions, and he says that the caliber of questions improves dramatically. 

You can also visit Peter Braid’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Wai Young is the Conservative MP for Vancouver South; a riding of 120,000 constituents in only 27km2, and home to no less than five high schools! By the time she was elected in 2011, she had worked in all three levels of government, as well as the private and not-for-profit sectors. She defines her role in civic education as a provider of information, education, and guidance, and says that her most useful tool in getting through to young people is making them understand taxes; admittedly, “not a pleasant thing,” but as a member of the Conservative government, she says that she often felt like “the mother who said no.”

Wai Young

While she recognizes her own essential role in civic education, she says that “the office staff are the real heroes,” since they engage in the ‘day-to-day civic education process.’ Young explained that instead of ending conversations where the assistance requested isn’t of federal jurisdiction, she asks that her staff work with her constituents regardless by redirecting their calls, and teaching them about the division of responsibility between levels of government. 

You can also visit Wai Young’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Tarik Brahmi is the NDP MP for Saint-Jean. His Quebec riding is home to one Cégep, a Royal Military College campus, two public high schools, one private high school, and an English high school. He laments the lack of requests for visits from schools because “we (MPs) are solicited from all sides, but schools need only ask! My office has never refused them.” He rejects the idea of making political visits to schools, forcefully asserting that “I haven’t done any, and I will do none, since they are not yet voters, but students there to learn.” 

Tarik Brahmi

Brahmi says that his most wonderful experience as an MP was an educational visit with students on a bus! He explained that one of the schools in his riding had booked a school trip to Parliament, but they had tried to reserve a guided tour too late, and were hoping that he would be willing to guide them. Instead, he went home the night before and drove to Ottawa on the bus with them, using his time with his captive audience to teach them all about Parliament, the history of democracy, and his job as their MP, and personally gave them a tour and QP pass upon their arrival. Brahmi is more than willing to repeat the experience! 

You can also visit Tarik Brahmi’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.

Stay tuned for more of Olivia’s meetings!

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Olivia on the Hill: Armstrong, Allison and MacAulay

March 25th, 2014 by Olivia Dorey

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. 

Today’s blog recaps Olivia’s meetings with MPs Scott ArmstrongDean Allison and Lawrence MacAulay.


Scott Armstrong is the Conservative MP for Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley and the Parliamentary Secretary for Human Resources and Skills Development. He belongs to a very old Conservative family – Sir John A. MacDonald was his great-great-great-great-great uncle- and he says that his family has always been involved politically, particularly since his grandfather is a WWI veteran. 

Scott Armstrong

He made a profession for himself as a principal, and therefore has a very strong relationship to the school boards in his district. As a principal, he says that his role in civic education was to “produce well-rounded, competent citizens who will contribute to society.” Now, as an MP, Armstrong views his role as one of inspiration to raise voter turnout as well as his various educational activities, which he suggests goes both ways: “you really learn from discussions with them!”

You can also visit Scott Armstrong’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Dean Allison is the Conservative MP for Niagara West-Glanbrook, a rural riding. A businessman and philanthropist, he has served as on many boards, and has been the Chair of multiple committees since he was first elected in 2004 (which was also the first election for his then-newly-created riding). Allison has served in the House consecutively since then, and speaks well of his colleagues, asserting that “99.9% of the people on the Hill are here for the right reasons.” He joined the political domain after having discovered Preston Manning.

Dean Allison

Political visits are reserved for campaign periods, but he maintains a strong presence in his schools through Citizenship ceremonies (of which he is terribly fond) and educational visits to classes. He uses a PowerPoint which covers the nomination process, bills, non-partisan jobs on the Hill, the committee process, and a “day-in-the-life” for about fifteen minutes before opening the floor to Q and A. 

Allison doesn’t make light of his role in civic education: “Bring politics to life, put a face to a name, open them up to the idea of working for the government. Politics affects your life, so get involved, and not necessarily as a partisan. The world is what you make it, so dream big dreams.”

You can also visit Dean Allison’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay is the Liberal MP for Cardigan, and critic for fisheries and oceans. He is also the longest serving MP from the Island to date! He was a potato and dairy farmer before entering politics, and has served in an array of positions over the course of his eight terms, not the least of which was Solicitor General of Canada. His riding has three high schools, and one french K-12. 

Lawrence macauley

In his capacity as an MP, MacAulay believes that his role in civic education is largely tied to his responsibility of power of the purse; he believes that his duty is to provide sufficient funding to schools. That said, he enjoys school visits, and fondly says that “young people are generally bright and can cause you trouble quicker than anybody!” 

You can also visit Lawrence MacAuley’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.

Stay tuned for more of Olivia’s meetings!

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Olivia on the Hill: Garneau, Benoit and Holder

March 24th, 2014 by Olivia Dorey

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. 

Today’s blog recaps Olivia’s meetings with MPs Marc Garneau, Leon Benoit and Ed Holder.


Marc Garneau is the Liberal MP for Westmount-Ville Marie, and critic for Foreign Affairs, la Francophonie and International Trade. He calls his riding the “hub of educational culture,” as it boasts McGill and Concordia University, two prestigious Cégéps, Dawson and Marianopolis, on top of several primary and secondary schools. While he thoroughly enjoys giving civic education presentations to students, he is most often invited to schools for assemblies in the context of his previous profession: Garneau was the first Canadian in space. 

Marc Garneau

Of civic education, he had this to say: “It fits my definition of my duty as an MP in my riding. My role is to convince young people that their vote matters; it’s not an easy task! We have to make it compelling, the environment, student costs, foreign policy, we have to find the ‘hook’ because young people are the most passionate of all.” It was his mother who planted the idea of becoming an MP in him, but it was when former Prime Minister Paul Martin called and asked him to join that he decided to give up his residency at the Canadian Space Agency, because he realized, and hopes that young people will realize, “[politicians] are the real decision-makers.” 

You can also visit Marc Garneau’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


The Honourable Ed Holder is the Conservative MP for London West and the (very recently appointed) Minister of State for Science and Technology. He has a background in the field of insurance, but his character is best summarized by the name of the group he founded at the end of his university career: Be Kind to People. Holder has a very diverse background in community service, a full directory of which can be consulted in the extended version of his biography on his website. 

Ed Holder

Holder spoke very simply about his interpretation of the role of an MP in civic education: listen, learn, and help share the non-partisan message of civic involvement. He says that he avoids making visits of a political nature to schools, vastly preferring educational interventions and attending certain ceremonies dear to him, particularly Remembrance Day and graduations where he presents the Ed Holder Citizenship Award. 

You can also visit Ed Holder’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Leon Benoit is the Conservative MP for Vegreville-Wainwright, Alberta. His civic education started at his very roots, with both parents informed voters, and having been in the farming industry, “you interpret the impacts of policy on a real-level, and so it’s no surprise that you get involved.” He suggests that while it’s “helpful for candidates and parties encourage young people to vote, you need to give them an opportunity to provide input!”

Leon Benoit

Extremely rural, Benoit estimates his riding to be composed of no less than 20 high schools, and anywhere from 60 to 80 elementary schools. That said, he has served his riding consecutively since 1993, and has communication and outreach to his schools down to a science; he holds a “couple dozen” school visits per year, but they are full-community events, often including local media coverage. He was very pleased to hear about the Student Budget Consultation, explaining that he has been holding his own similar consultations for years. Benoit says that he has seen a direct correlation between the election results and the schools where he has visited; he explains this phenomenon by the young people “going home and talking to their parents.”

You can also visit Leon Benoit’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.

Stay tuned for more of Olivia’s meetings!

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Olivia on the Hill: David Wilks

March 13th, 2014 by Olivia Dorey

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. 

Today’s blog recaps Olivia’s meetings with Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks.


David Wilks is the Conservative MP for Kootenay-Columbia, a fascinating riding because it is so rural. The largest of the twenty-four communities in his riding is Cranbrook, population 25,000, which explains why he finds himself representing around a dozen high schools. Despite the geographic challenges he managed to visit all but two last year by making sure to contact them when he was driving through.

Mr. Wilks chooses his presentation strategy according to age level, sometimes opening the floor to questions, taking preset questions, or chatting about current bills. However, parts of his riding have the particularity of having a four day school week, so he divides those grade 5 classes into government and opposition, and has them debate switching to a three-day school week.

David Wilks

Before choosing to join federal politics, he spent many years as an RCMP officer, and was acclaimed as mayor (no one ran against him). He says that the experiences were very much alike in that “you do what you can with the information that has been provided to you, knowing that you can’t please everyone; you can only do your best.” Wilks and his wife are proud owners of a bowling alley, where he often has the chance to get to know and engage the youth in his riding, who are eager to talk because he and his wife “just listen.”

While he expected “bureaucracy [to be] insane,” Wilks wasn’t always sure, upon arrival, that he was suited to the job as an MP. Luckily, he realized that could make a great contribution if he put his strengths to use, and has since dedicated himself to providing a police perspective on justice issues; “we create laws here, but someone has to enforce them, so we must be clear to avoid misinterpretation.”

Mr. Wilks made his stance on voting equally clear. He started by explaining that he has a son serving in Afghanistan, and offered a gentle reminder that women can’t vote there. By not voting, “you choose not to exercise your democratic rights,” and he therefore went so far as to say that “you have to vote.”

You can also visit David Wilks’ website and Member of Parliament Profile.

Stay tuned for more of Olivia’s meetings!

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Olivia on the Hill: Murray, Albrecht and Smith

March 12th, 2014 by Olivia Dorey

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. 

Today’s blog recaps Olivia’s meetings with MPs Joyce Murray, Harold Albrecht and Joy Smith.


Joyce Murray is the Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra, and runner-up in the 2013 Liberal Leadership race. She is also the critic for National Defense and Western Economic Diversification. She is a strong advocate for the environment, having pursued her career in the field until being elected in 2011, but also for women’s rights and preventative health, to name only a few. 

Joyce Murray

She says that while “it can and may, civic education in school did nothing for me.” Her involvement began when she deemed the actions of the Crown Corporation of which she was a board member to be done in political rather than public interest. Now, when she speaks to young people, she seeks to “draw out leadership, particularly in young women,” and to bring politics closer to home, even though “we may not be able to fix the potholes!”

You can also visit Joyce Murray’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Harold Albrecht is the Conservative MP for Kitchener-Conestoga. He has lived in his riding for his entire life, where he was a pastor, a dentist, proud father of three, and grandfather to nine! He is a big fan of our Student Vote program, and hopes to see it expanded, which is particularly delightful to hear as he was the chair of the Waterloo County Board of Education. 

Harold Albrecht

Mr. Albrecht is very active on social media, and annually acknowledges a graduate from each of the schools, not just high schools, in his riding with an award. This includes a bronze medallion and a letter from the Prime Minister that is presented to the student selected by the staff for their leadership. He speaks very highly of the students in his riding, admitting that they often ask him questions that he wouldn’t have thought of! He calls on young people to let us know what would inspire them to vote. 

You can also visit Harold Albrecht’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Joy Smith is Conservative MP for Kildonan-St. Paul. She devoted 23 years to teaching math and sciences to high schools, raised six children, and while she served as a Justice, Education, and Urban Affairs critic during her time as an MLA in Manitoba, she had never intended to run for politics. While she doesn’t like all aspects of politics, she recognized that this was an opportunity for her to “make a better Canada.”

Joy Smith

She has done so through her dedication to the war against human trafficking in which she claims that “education is our greatest tool and weapon.” In the process, she became the first MP ever to amend the Criminal Code not once, but twice through private members bills Bill C-268 (Child Trafficking Offence) and Bill C-310 (Enhancing Definition of Human Trafficking and Extending Extraterritoriality). She has been recognized most recently by the Winnipeg YMCA and the UN Women for her efforts. 

You can also visit Joy Smith’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.

Stay tuned for more of Olivia’s meetings!

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