Friday, April 28, 2006

Making the Grade

CBC Toronto has had running for the last little while a feature called "Making the Grade":
We started this series by asking Ontario students: "if you could come up with a new law for Ontario, what would it be?" Now, three of those bills have been introduced and passed first reading in the legislature.

On May 10th, those bills will be called back for a special, unprecedented sitting of the legislature. The bills will be given second reading and a full public debate, and then MPP's will cast a vote to determine what happens next.

This is a chance for students to exercise their political voice, and try to have a say at Queen's Park in what happens next. Debate an issue in class. Write your MPP. Collect names on the petitions created to support the bills. Find ways to help your elected representatives know how you feel about these bills before they debate and vote on them.

I think it's a great way to get students involved in the political process.

There were three private members bills introduced before the Ontario legislature based on suggestions by high school students.

Bill 96, Education Amendment Act (School Waste Reduction) aims to promote recycling at schools, by making sure that every classroom has 2 recycling bins (one for paper, one for cans), and that school lunch rooms or cafeterias promote recycling as well.

The bill was introduced by Kathleen Wynne, of the Ontario Liberal Party.

The bill was proposed to the legislature by the afterschool eco-club at Georgetown District High School.

[CBC, Better Recycling in Schools]

Bill 93, Education Amendment Act (Nutrition Standards in Schools) aims to encourage high school cafeterias to offer more healthy alternatives. The bill doesn't try to get rid of junk food – it simply wants cafeterias meet nutritional guidelines, like those put out by the Eat Smart program.

The bill was introduced by Frank Klees, of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

The bill was proposed to the legislature by Nupur Dogra, from Iroquois Ridge High School in Oakville.

[CBC, Bill 2 - Healthier Cafeterias]

Bill 95, Employment Statue Law Amendment Act (Informing Students of their Employment Rights) tries to educate young people about their rights on the job, by creating a poster and booklet that explains things in language young people can understand.

The bill was introduced by Andrea Horwath, of the Ontario NDP.

The bill was proposed by a number of people. Majd El-Samrout of Lisgar Collegiate in Ottawa, The Bill Making Team of Cardinal Cartier Secondary School in Aurora, and the Ken Rachner's Grade 12 politics class at St. Ignatius Loyola Secondary School in Oakville.

[CBC, Student Rights on the Job]

I think all three bills are great ideas and I encourage everyone to contact their Ontario MPP to voice your support.

Write to your local MPP.

Find your riding here.

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