Ella Jazvac might be a few years away from being able to vote in our Canadian elections, but that isn’t stopping her from being an active citizen.
The grade 7 student from St. Ann (Ancaster) Catholic Elementary was selected to participate in the Ontario Legislative Page Program, which gives grade 7 and 8 students an opportunity to experience the provincial legislature in action.
“I wanted to see how decisions were made in our government, especially with our new government,” said Jazvac, on why she applied to the program.
“I thought it would be very interesting to see what they were trying to do to make Ontario better for everybody else.”
Each year, approximately 150 young students from across Ontario are selected to participate in the page program.
A typical day sees students dressed in their uniforms by 8:15 a.m. for a briefing where they are told the orders of the day, which includes serving in the House by delivering messages and water for MPPs. Prior to starting their term, students are given welcome packages from which they are required to memorize every MPP’s name, face, riding and seat to ensure every interaction and request runs smoothly.
“There are 124 seats,” she said, noting that the memorization was one of the hardest tasks.
“But all the MPP are so nice to us, they truly care. It was nice to know you had a job and you were being appreciated.”
Learning the proper procedure in passing a bill proved to be Jarvac’s favourite take-away.
“When you walk into the chambers it’s a totally different world, it’s so up close.”
And while participating in the program gave Jarvac first-hand knowledge on the Ontario parliament and legislative process, she also walked away more confident in herself.
“It’s very intimidating being there with all these important people, but you have to realize you’ve been accepted so you have an important part to play too.”
“They wouldn’t be able to deliver the bills to the speaker without a page. It’s crazy thinking that law they have now, I delivered that to the speaker. Without me, that wouldn’t have been possible.”