Local youth attends non-partisan forum
A young Airdronian recently got a close look at Alberta’s political process.
Quinn Hegg, 14, attended the Forum for Young Albertans, a non-partisan political learning opportunity for senior high school students, in Edmonton, Nov. 18 to 24.
“I absolutely loved it,” said Hegg, a Grade 9 student at Bert Church High School who has a passion for politics.
“My dad is a politician (Airdrie Alderman Kelly Hegg), so I have always been interested in politics.”
During the week-long forum, Hegg, along with 23 other students from across the province, attended speaker presentations, group discussions, tours and took part in activities designed to teach them about the political process. Students also met a number of MLAs, Lieutenant Governor Donald S. Ethell and Speaker Gene Zwozdesky.
They attended two question periods and put on a mock legislative session, during which participants, divided into rival political groups, attempted to pass legislation.
Hegg said she chose to represent the PC party during the session. She was named deputy minister and minister of health.
“We sat in the MLA’s desks and debated,” she said, adding the process increased her knowledge about politics.
“I learned more of the process of the bills and how they get passed and more about what the role is of an MLA,” she said.
Hegg said she was disappointed by the behaviour of MLAs during question period, adding Zwosdesky jokingly told the students they behaved better than some of those elected to the Legislature.
“It was surprising how they acted,” said Hegg of the government during sittings of the Legislature. “Everyone is yelling or clapping the desk. Everyone was kind of mean to each other.”
Hegg said she took some lessons away from the experience about what it means to be a politician.
“If I go into politics, I want it to be more team work,” she said. “ You aren’t representing a party, you are representing your people.”
Hegg said she will pursue a career in municipal or provincial politics when she is older.
“Airdrie is a great community and they need great representation,” she said. “I just want to help out in our community.”
Hegg’s dad Kelly, who is an Airdrie alderman and ran for the PCs in the provincial election earlier this year, said the opportunity was a good one for all the students involved.
“It’s that live action stuff, you don’t really see,” he said, adding the process of passing legislation and question period can be difficult to teach in school.
Kelly, a school principal in Calgary, added his daughter has been around politics since he was first elected in 2004 and even door-knocked during his provincial campaign.
He said he would support his daughter should she get involved in politics.
“It’s an honourable service,” he said.