MEDIA RELEASE | APRIL 20, 2016
UBC bootcamp for future politicians focuses on electoral reform
The University of BC’s Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions will hold its 4th annual Summer Institute for Future Legislators this summer. The need to train politicians for their work in parliament has never been more apparent, notes Max Cameron, the Centre’s Director. “The are 153 rookies MPs in the 184 Liberal caucus, and many of them are now learning the basics—like how to make a committees work,” he says. “It takes practice to be effective in parliament, and it involves skills that are learned on the job.
Enter UBC’s Summer Institute for Future Legislators. It provides training to people before they enter politics. Anyone interested in serving in public life is welcome to enrol in our program before they run for office. In previous years, topics have included legislation, representation, parliamentary relationships, ethics, constituency service, and communications.
This year, a major theme of the Summer Institute will be electoral reform. The federal government promised to table a proposal for electoral reform within 18 months of taking office. Last week, Minister of Democratic Institutions, Maryam Monsef, outlined eight principles to guide electoral reform. A motion to create an all-party committee is expected to be introduced to the House of Commons in short order. With a recently announced Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Connections Grant, CSDI will provide a platform for discussion and knowledge-sharing on electoral reform.
In particular, the Summer Institute program will give aspiring politicians a chance to consider how parliament might work differently under alternative electoral rules. “This is a truly exciting opportunity to match the work of parliament from the vantage point of a public university, while using experiential learning to cultivate the next generation of leaders” says Cameron.
The fee this year is $1,200. Generous funding from the Vancouver Foundation allows CSDI to provide scholarships in accordance with its commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
For information on how to apply, contact:
Rebecca Alegría Monnerat,
Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions
Department of Political Science
University of British Columbia
C425-1866 Main Mall
Vancouver BC V6T 1Z1
Tel: (604)827-4390/ cel: 778-869-2327
Past Summer Institutes for Future Legislators have featured such speakers as Preston Manning, former Leader of the Official Opposition, former B.C. Premier Mike Harcourt, former cabinet minister Anne McLellan, and former Speaker of the Ontario Legislature Steve Peters.
Heather Sweet, MLA for Edmonton-Manning, expressed her appreciation for the program with these words: “In 2014 I attended the UBC Summer Institute for Future Legislators in Vancouver and Victoria. I am glad that I had the opportunity to participate in this program before I was elected to the Alberta legislature. The experience of working with other participants on topics like representation, lawmaking, and constituency service, and the exposure to inspiring practitioners, is helpful to anyone interested in serving in elected office whether at the local, provincial or federal levels.”
The Institute is the first step toward a proposed permanent Institute for Future Legislators at UBC. To reside in UBC’s CSDI, the proposed academic program is being envisioned as one the world’s first comprehensive training programs for aspiring legislators.
Learn more at http://www.democracy.arts.ubc.ca.