For Metro/Graeme Coleman From left to right, Youth Parliament of Manitoba’s Minister of Finance Lauren Marshall discusses The Natural Beauty Act alongside Darren Haber, the 2011 chairperson of YPM, Manitoba Legislative Assembly speaker Daryl Reid, and 2012 chairperson of YPM Bojan Pirnat.

Enforcing gender equality, rewarding good citizenship and regulating protests are just some of the bills this year’s edition of Youth Parliament of Manitoba will debate starting Boxing Day.

Six youth taking part in the Youth Parliament of Manitoba (YPM) spoke on Friday about the bills they have drafted.

This year, the bills seek to regulate protests, enforce gender equality in Parliament, instate mandatory post-secondary education for all Canadians, award citizens for good deeds within their community, require all youth to participate in 130 hours of sports each school year, and require the media to use models of all physiques and ethnicities with restrictions on Photoshopping.

“We really never lack for ambition here,” said Darren Haber, elected in 2011 as the chairperson of YPM, which runs until Jan. 30.

“When we come together in the Legislative Assembly those five days after Christmas, we’re not just 80 teenagers and young people playing at Parliament. In these days, youth ages 16 to 20 step into the shoes of legislatives for five days.

“They get to see what the world looks like through the eyes of the law maker.  For a few moments, they transition into the most responsible people of society,” added Haber.

Started in 1922, YPM is one of the oldest Youth Parliaments in the country.

“As long as there’s a job worth doing, the youth and the Youth Parliament of Manitoba will always be there to take up the task and shoulder the responsibility,” Haber said.

“You can see that the future is very bright with the youth that we have here in this room and the youth that we have participating in our 91st Youth Parliament of Manitoba,” said MLA Daryl Reid (Transcona), also speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

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