Retaining or removing the monarchy as Canada’s head of state was one of many topics debated en français last week, under the marble columns and decorative gilt plasterwork inside British Columbia’s Legislative Assembly. And new Leader of the Chamber was Mélanie Girard of Summerland
Girard, 17, was one of several Okanagan Valley youths participating in the recent Parlement jeunesse francophone de Colombie-Britannique or BC Francophone Youth Parliament, held in Victoria Jan. 12 to 15. The area was well represented. In addition to Girard, participants from Summerland and Penticton included Gabriel Girard, Elyse Blais, Solenn Madevon and Dezzaray Williams.
The annual parliamentary session is organized by the Conseil Jeunesse francophone de la Colombie Britannique, a non-profit youth-run organization that also hosts a variety of sports and cultural events, educational trips and training programs for BC Francophones.
The Francophone Youth Parliament brings more than 80 youth from across the province to Victoria each January to learn about, and participate in, the democratic process.
It was Girard’s third parliamentary session in Victoria, but her first with increased responsibilities. This year, she was in charge of the trip scheduling and helping other deputies. With 82 youth aged 14 to 20 taking part in the Victoria trip, there was a lot of shepherding to do.