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POLSCI 4ZZ6 Travels to Queen's Park

Students from Dave Levac's POLSCI 4ZZ6: Experiential Learning in Research class visited Queen's Park on Thursday, Oct.31st for the day.

Nov 12, 2019

As part of the Socrates Project, a visit to Queen's Park by POLSCI 4ZZ6 students was an essential part of the student's exposure to the world of provincial politics. The Day began with a meeting with the Speaker of The House, MPP Ted Arnot. Ted reviewed the various roles and responsibilities of the Speaker, beyond his regular Question Period duties. The Speaker arranged for a photo to be taken on the Grand Stair Case in the beautiful and historic building. The students were then lead to their "home base" for the day, room 228. Both room 228 and room 230 are now called "The Meeting Place" in respect of Indigenous people.  During Levac's time as Speaker, he arranged the rooms to be filled with Indigenous art and items of special interest to be displayed permanently. It's the largest collection of Indigenous items in any Legislature of Ontario beyond the Territories. Students were met by various people representing the parties and the staff of the Legislature. MPP Sam Oosterhoff spoke on behalf of the Conservative Party. The students met the youngest MPP ever elected in Ontario history. Sam was 19 years old when he was elected. He spoke of his journey to get the nomination and finally elected. Next a staff member from the PPPR Department reviewed the parliamentary traditions and workings of the legislature. Now it was time to gather in The House for Question Period. The Speaker arranged for the students to be seated in his special gallery area. These seats are reserved for guests of the Speaker only. The entire class was introduced to the members by the Speaker. (The students got a standing ovation). The class stayed for the entire QP and were able to observe the "to-and-fro" by the members. they heard the various styles of questions and answers. They noticed a trend to "avoid" answering the question, ask questions where there are no right answers. they saw "The Game". After lunch the students returned to Home Base where more presentations and Q&A took place. MPP Sandy Shaw spoke on behalf of the NDP. Sandy actually represents the riding McMaster University is located. Our next guest is a first; The first female Sergeant-at-Arms, Jackie Gordan. After a distinguished career in policing, she brought her knowledge and skills to Queen's Park to drive major improvements to the safety and security to all present in the building. Next, from the Green Party, the Leader Mike Schreiner spoke with passion about "doing politics different". Finally, the Leader of the Liberal Party, John Fraser spoke of the lessons learned during and after the election. The students peppered many solid and good questions at all of the guests in a way that showed engagement and curiosity. The trip was given two thumbs up by the class during our post mortem and de-brief. Well worth spending time on the 403 and QEW.