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First Model Senate puts youth in charge of the Red Chamber
February 3, 2020

University and college students took over the Senate on a snowy weekend in January 2020 to get a taste of life in the Red Chamber.

The first-ever Model Senate saw students debating legislation, learning parliamentary procedure and investigating issues.

Real-life senators Julie Miville-Dechêne, Yonah Martin, David Wells and Kim Pate punctuated the sittings with presentations about their work in the Senate, which sparked many questions from their audience.

The event also gave student broadcasters and journalists the chance to test their skills. College students worked the control room to televise the event inside the Chamber, while student journalists interviewed real and model senators.

Here are some photos from the Model Senate.

Senate staff make final arrangements as model senators prepare to take over the Red Chamber at the first-ever Model Senate, which took place on January 25 and 26, 2020.Senate staff make final arrangements as model senators prepare to take over the Red Chamber at the first-ever Model Senate, which took place on January 25 and 26, 2020.

Senate Page Amélie Boutin prepares to carry the mace into the Senate Chamber as model Speaker Adam Thompson — normally a Senate table officer — looks on. The Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française generously loaned out its mace for the occasion. The real Senate cannot meet without its mace being present.Senate Page Amélie Boutin prepares to carry the mace into the Senate Chamber as model Speaker Adam Thompson — normally a Senate table officer — looks on. The Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française generously loaned out its mace for the occasion. The real Senate cannot meet without its mace being present.

Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne greets model senators in the Red Chamber.Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne greets model senators in the Red Chamber.

A model Senate participant pauses during her speech in the Red Chamber. About 60 students from the University of Ottawa, Carleton University and the Université du Québec en Outaouais took part in the event.A model Senate participant pauses during her speech in the Red Chamber. About 60 students from the University of Ottawa, Carleton University and the Université du Québec en Outaouais took part in the event.

Students from La Cité collégiale and Algonquin College take command of an internal television feed in the Senate control room. The Senate began televising Chamber proceedings in February 2019.Students from La Cité collégiale and Algonquin College take command of an internal television feed in the Senate control room. The Senate began televising Chamber proceedings in February 2019.

Model senators rise to applaud a colleague’s argument during a sitting of the Model Senate.Model senators rise to applaud a colleague’s argument during a sitting of the Model Senate.

From right, model journalists Davis Legree, Rebecca Kwan and Zachary Robichaud interview Senator Yonah Martin in the senators’ reading room after she addressed the Model Senate.From right, model journalists Davis Legree, Rebecca Kwan and Zachary Robichaud interview Senator Yonah Martin in the senators’ reading room after she addressed the Model Senate.

Senator Kim Pate addresses the Model Senate on Sunday, January 26, 2020.Senator Kim Pate addresses the Model Senate on Sunday, January 26, 2020.

University of Ottawa International, Political and Policy Studies Student Association volunteer Dan Hux gave model senators procedural support under the mentorship of Senate Principal Clerk Cathy Piccinin.University of Ottawa International, Political and Policy Studies Student Association volunteer Dan Hux gave model senators procedural support under the mentorship of Senate Principal Clerk Cathy Piccinin.

A model senator organizes her notes as she gives a speech in the Senate Chamber.A model senator organizes her notes as she gives a speech in the Senate Chamber.

Model senators, broadcasters and journalists pose for a group photo after day one of the Model Senate.Model senators, broadcasters and journalists pose for a group photo after day one of the Model Senate.