UBC News Release
April 12, 2017
UBC offers boot camp for aspiring politicians
This summer, aspiring politicians will have the opportunity to hone their talents at the annual Summer Institute for Future Legislators, organized by the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions at UBC.
The program, open to anyone interested in serving in public life, provides training to people hoping to enter the world of politics. Students learn about law making, representation, parliamentary relationships, ethics, constituency service and communications.
“We trust elected officials with some of the biggest decisions in our lives, yet society offers and requires surprisingly little training to prepare them for life in government,” said Gerald Baier, academic director of the institute and co-author of The Canadian Regime: An Introduction to Parliamentary Government in Canada. “To help address this education gap, we’re offering one of the first comprehensive training programs for aspiring legislators.”
Students also get a chance to hear from high-profile politicians. Previous years have featured talks from Preston Manning, former leader of the official opposition, former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt, former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan, and former B.C. cabinet minister Carole Taylor.
For Heather Sweet, MLA for Edmonton-Manning, who attended the institute in 2014, she says the program helped her gain important skills after winning her riding in 2015.
“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,” said Sweet.
Clarance Rambharat, a senator and cabinet minister in Trinidad and Tobago, described his experience participating in the program’s model parliament in 2013 as “life changing.”
“No single experience can truly prepare you for life as a legislator, but the Summer Institute is the closest you can get,” he said. “It was real life and real world, and combined critical training with immense collaboration and discussion. Every politician should attend this program.”
For more information about this year’s program, visit democracy.arts.ubc.ca/summer-institute
Rebecca Monnerat, Project Manager
Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions at UBC
Participants of last year’s Summer Institute had this to say about the program (5 min video):