Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Aspiring politicians get down to business

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Should the government have more power to crack down on political protesters?

Should advertisers be forced to show models who have a variety of weights and body shapes?

While many bargain-hungry Winnipeggers spent Boxing Day at the mall, a group of politically savvy youths began learning about the Canadian parliamentary system by debating these contentious issues.

The 91st session of Youth Parliament of Manitoba opened Wednesday and 80 youth aged 16 to 20 will spend the next four days debating legislation that touches on issues such as freedom of speech and education reform.

Darren Haber, a member of the non-profit's executive committee, said six senior Youth Parliament members will present bills that are meant to be controversial and spark debate. On Wednesday, the session opened with a bill that proposes increasing regulation of protests and rallies, including mandatory police searches of all participants.

Haber said the bill was inspired by the student protests in Quebec and the provincial government's subsequent decision to impose limits on public protests.

"We want (topics) that will raise issues and get people to talk about whether we want this in society or not," Haber said.

Youth parliamentarians will also debate whether the government should ban elective plastic surgery in Canada.

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 27, 2012 A2

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