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Democracy thriving in the classroom

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Dave Chomiak, MLA for Kildonan, meets with Kamey Munsamy’s Grade 8 class at Edmund Partridge Community School, one of four classes Dave visited during Constituency Week this May.

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Dave Chomiak, MLA for Kildonan, meets with Kamey Munsamy’s Grade 8 class at Edmund Partridge Community School, one of four classes Dave visited during Constituency Week this May. Photo Store

Recent events in countries around the world remind us how privileged we are to live in a democracy where our freedoms are protected.

I strongly believe that our future as a democracy rests on the extent to which we encourage our youth to make a difference in their communities. Without their participation we can never improve or advance as a society. Our schools and teachers do a good job of encouraging students to actively participate in their communities and government. I have found that the Seven Oaks School Division always ensures parents, students and residents have opportunities to participate in major decisions.

One small way I contribute to this process is with my classroom visits to the schools in my community. I usually ask the class to pretend they are a voting in the legislature. We pick a law for debate that interests them— usually lowering the driving age to the students’ age. We then debate and either vote for, or against the law, as we would do in the legislature. I always remind students that in this setting or in the legislature, we do fight. But I then emphasize that we fight with words—not guns, knives or fists.

Like in the real legislature, emotions can get heated. The students vote after hearing everyone’s arguments. I am always amazed that the students usually vote to keep the age of driving at 16, even though in most instances they have to wait years to drive. For both me and them, this is a great example of engagement.

If you ever need my assistance or would like to talk about issues that are important to our neighbourhood, please do not hesitate to contact my constituency office at 204-334-5060 or email us at Dave.Chomiak@yourmanitoba.ca

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