Name: Model Parliament
Previous/other names: Mock Parliament
Prominent date(s) of activity: 1884? - 1917; 1930; 1948 -
History: The Literary and Debating Society began sponsoring Model Parliament at UNB sometime before 1884. The Model Parliaments dealt with local issues and meetings were governed by the same rules used to regulate the proceedings of the House of Assembly of the province. Meetings were initially held in the university chapel but, owing to the fact that the chapel was too small to hold all interested viewers, the university gave the group permission to hold meetings in the library. It was hoped that the larger venue would attract a larger audience.
Parliament took place in the second semester each year, just before the local Legislative session was held. Meetings were public and open to all students and members of the community. Each event opened with a great deal of ceremony, attracting a greater number of participants and witnesses each year. The reigning government presented the Throne Speech, which designated the topic of the day's debate.
The activity was intended to benefit anyone entering the legal profession or hoping to become a politician. Membership trained students to speak with readiness, to state their views in a clear and concise manner, to preside over public meetings or other assemblies, and to come to fair conclusions about life matters. Participation helped students become better acquainted with the issues of the day, which made them better equipped to deal with practical problems. Every member had the power to speak freely and unrestrained, so long as he followed decorum. The Governor was elected, the Speaker appointed, the members allotted their respective counties, and all was done in strict accordance with Parliamentary regulation.
In March of 1962, the Liberals were elected to government for the first time in the history of Model Parliament at UNB. To date, the Conservatives had consistently managed to win a minority government. Two weeks later the Liberals were ousted from power by a coalition between the Progressive Conservatives and Christian Atheists.
The Christian Atheists came into power for the first time in history in 1965. Together with the Liberals, the Christian Atheists proposed the organization of a committee to study the purposes of the UNB Model Parliament.
In 1966 Model Parliament was moved from the Provincial Legislative Building to McConnell Hall after some students were excessively rowdy.
In April of 1997, the Debating Union organized for a Model Parliament to take place at the Legislative Assembly in Fredericton. Upwards of 50 students from various political clubs around campus participated in the event, representing Reformers, Liberals, Tories, the NDP, and the Bloc Quebecois. This event was organized to increase the level of political engagement on campus and to introduce students to the art of debating.
Note(s): In 1964 three parties participated in Model Parliament: Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, and Christian Atheists (whose platform sought to abolish motor vehicles and television, to ban Coca Cola products - but not ones by Pepsi, and to bring back the seignorial system). During this year's model parliament, a resolution was voted upon for Canada to abolish the flag as its primary national signifier. Instead, it was proposed, Canada might consider simply painting naval vessels pink with green polka dots.
In 1966 the Liberal Club posited that the Model Parliament should be discontinued at UNB and elsewhere because it was no more than a theatrical farce and could be used by future politicians of the student population to further their political agenda
- UA Case 173.
- University Monthly, vol. 2, no. 2, January 1883, p. 1.
- University Monthly, vol. 2, no. 8, January 1884, p. 117.
- University Monthly, vol. 4, no. 5, January 1885, p. 1.
- University Monthly, vol. 34, no. 5, February 1915, p. 15.
- UNB Scrapbooks (UA RG 100), 1919 - 1943. The Daily Gleaner "Members Constituencies — U.N.B. Mock Parliament," 10 March 1930.
- Up the Hill, 1948, p. 123.
- The Brunswickan, Stop Press Edition, March 1962, p. 1.
- The Brunswickan, vol. 94, no. 32, March 1962, p. 5.
- The Brunswickan, vol. 96, no. 18, 1964, p. 9.
- The Brunswickan, vol. 96, no. 23, 1964, p. 1.
- The Brunswickan, vol. 97, no. 21, February 1965, p. 1.
- The Brunswickan, vol. 98, no. 22, February 1966, p. 1
- The Brunswickan, vol. 130, no. 23, March 1997, p. 5.
© UNB Archives & Special Collections, 2014