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Senator Visits Merrickville Public School
Senator Yvonne Boyer Visits Merrickville Public School
Posted on 01/18/2019
Senator Yvonne Boyer

January 18, 2019 (Merrickville, ON) -  Senator Yvonne Boyer visited Merrickville Public School Thursday, January 17 to talk to students about the Senate and the Métis Nation. 

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. 

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,” Boyer 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.” 

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 looked 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 and French fur traders, and Indigenous peoples. 

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

For more information, please call: 

Tanya Preston
Principal
Merrickville Public School
(613) 269-4951

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