With Ontario voters heading to the polls next month and uncertainty surrounding Toronto’s City Hall, the University of British Columbia is expanding its bootcamp for aspiring politicians to that province this summer.
First offered in B.C. last year, UBC’s Summer Institute for Future Legislators offers aspiring politicians of all stripes the training to thrive as elected officials and handle the challenges of legislative life.
“Every day we seem to see new evidence that Canadians deserve more from our lawmakers,” says Prof. Gerald Baier of UBC’s Dept. of Political Science. “We trust elected officials with some of the biggest decisions in our lives, but society offers and requires surprisingly little training to prepare them for government.”
The Institute offers guidance on ethics, lawmaking, budgeting, media training and protocol as well as balancing political, personal and family life. Former federal, provincial and municipal elected officials, veteran political journalists and political scientists will mentor participants.
Now accepting applications, the Institute will begin in July with weekend workshops in Vancouver and Toronto followed by parliamentary simulations in August at the legislative chambers in Victoria and Toronto.
“Ontario, with Canada’s largest city, our national capital, and more politicians than any other province, was the natural next step for this program,” says Prof. Baier.
The Summer Institute for Future Legislators in Toronto builds on the inaugural 2013 program in Vancouver and Victoria.
Last year’s Institute featured 60 participants and guest speakers such as former Leader of the Official Opposition Preston Manning, former B.C. Premier Mike Harcourt, former cabinet minister Anne McLellan, and former Speaker of the Ontario Legislature Steve Peters. This year’s guests will soon be announced.
“The Summer Institute will provide intensive hands-on mentoring and training for anyone seeking the experience and training necessary to make a difference at the local, provincial or federal level,” says UBC Prof. Max Cameron, co-founder of the Institute. “We’re soliciting applications from a diverse and cross-partisan group of women and men of all ages and backgrounds. The only prerequisites are political aspirations and a readiness to learn from highly experienced practitioners.”
The Institute is the first step toward a proposed Model Parliament for Canada at UBC. To reside in UBC’s Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions, the proposed academic program will be one of the world’s first comprehensive training programs for aspiring legislators.
Canada has more than 26,000 elected officials, including 308 MPs, over 800 provincial and territorial officials, and approximately 25,000 municipal officials.
Video: Summer Institute for Future Legislators 2013: Pilot Program