Senator visits Merrickville Public School


submitted by UCDSB

Senator Yvonne Boyer visited Merrickville Public School on Thursday, January 17, to talk to students about the Senate and the Métis Nation. Senator Boyer, who is also a former Canadian Human Rights Commissioner, visited the school as part of the SENgage Program. This program connects Senators with students across Canada to enhance their knowledge about government.

Senator Boyer told Grades 4, 5 and 6 students why connecting Senators with youth is important to Canada’s future.

“I want to know what you have to say, because you are the future of Canada,” she told a Grades 5/6 class during one of two addresses in the school’s Learning Commons. “When I look at bills I need to work on and edit, I want to be able to see them through your eyes. That’s why it’s important I get out into the community and ask questions about how you feel about certain things.”

Senator Boyer explained to students how the Senate is a chamber of “sober second thought”, that reviews legislation passed in the House of Commons, delaying it, if necessary, to give members of Parliament a chance to review it and make corrections. She also discussed her role on various Senate committees and the way bills received Royal Ascent or final approval in the Red Chamber.

Dressed in a traditional Métis sash, she spoke about her Métis heritage, and the meaning of the sash. She explained how women wore the sash across their front – like a military sash – and men wore it around their waists. Women used the sash in a variety of ways, including to carry children or firewood for example, or even as a towel. She added that the colour of the sash is important in Métis culture, as it signifies where your family is from. A red sash means your family comes from Western Canada and blue shows you are from the east. The Senator showed students what a Métis flag looks like – an infinity sign on a blue background – denoting that her culture is comprised of two cultures intertwined. The Métis Nation arose in the 1700s from intermarriage between Scottish, Irish and French fur traders, and Indigenous peoples.

The students had a variety of questions for the Senator afterwards, ranging from whether she had aspired as a child to become a Senator, to her impressions of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here