Skip to content

Page program piques political interest of Bradford student

Liyao Yin recently served as legislative page at Queen's Park; 'It was interesting watching our personal future being debated right in front of us'
Liyao Yin is shown with her mother, Xin Yin, and Bradford Mayor James Leduc.

A Bradford girl recently completed an “eye-opening” experience as a page at Queen’s Park.

Liyao Yin, a Grade 7 student, took part in the page program for three weeks during the spring session at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, whose website notes the program “provides an opportunity to experience the provincial legislature in action and forge new lifelong friendships with peers from all over the province.”

It was a valuable experience for Yin.

“It was really eye opening. Young people today don’t really follow politics that much. It was interesting watching our personal future being debated right in front of us,” she said. “I learned about backbenchers as well as how the Speaker organizes the sessions … The Speaker has a difficult job calming down all the members when things get hot, knowing when to kick people out.”

Yin feels it is important for young people to be informed about politics, to be engaged in the process, and to learn how to get involved. She said having student elections during election time helped her and her classmates learn more about politics.

“It gives students information about elections and how to vote, which gives them better odds to continue voting in adult life. There is a lot they don’t know, such as how the parliament actually operates,” she said.

Voter turnout has been low in recent elections. Yin would like to see that change in the future, and she feels one way to help make that happen would be for politicians to keep more promises.

“I would like to see promises made in elections being addressed more. I would like to see what they have to say about that so that it doesn’t magically disappear in between election periods,” she said.

Her time as a page led her to look more closely at local municipal issues, too.

“After I finished my term, I looked into youth opportunities in Bradford, and there (weren’t) any until age 13, and most were 15 and 16. I would like to see more opportunities,” she said.

She told Mayor James Leduc she would like to shadow him for a period of time, and he said he would arrange for that to happen in August. He even suggested she serve in a page capacity at a council meeting.

Leduc noted there are opportunities for residents of various ages to get involved at the municipal level.

Town council has been providing regular Community Access Networking (CAN) meetings, allowing residents to meet with the mayor and other council members to ask questions in person.

“We are going to be hosting a youth meeting during our CAN meetings. In August, we will be hosting a special youth meeting to hear from the youth and see what they want in our community,” Leduc said. “This council believes in the youth and we want to find out what your needs are so we can address them as best as we can.”

He added it was “fantastic to see a Bradford resident go to Queen’s Park” as a page.

“It’s good to see young people get involved in politics at all levels. The best way to get started in politics is to volunteer,” he said. “There are many opportunities around town. That’s how you learn what our community needs.”