The house was in session at the Alberta legislature on Saturday, Dec. 28 — but with a twist.
The legislators debating were not elected officials but students participating in the youth TUXIS Parliament of Alberta program.
“We do our best to run a version of the legislature itself,” said Carly Russell, an Ambrose University student from Calgary who filled the role of premier.
“We go through a proper opening, we have our order papers, we pass different resolutions and bills to get things into play.”
The program allows students between the ages of 15 to 21 to participate, with issues often mirroring what actual parliament may be debating.
During this year’s session, the students will debate the climate emergency, electoral reform and health care.
“That’s what’s been so prevalent in our media lately, and that’s what youth seem to have the most interest in,” Russell said.
“Tuxis is a bit of a hidden gem,” said Matthew Boonstra, a University of Alberta student who played the Opposition leader.
This year’s TUXIS six-day session wraps up Tuesday. Some Alberta MLAs also attended the sessions to help guide the youth.
Similar programs exist in B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Every second year, the four groups gather for a Western Canada session. That next session is set to take place in B.C. in 2020.