Submission by Chemainus Secondary School students fits the bill

Chemainus Valley Courier

Pachet and Bottomley the winners of Create Your Canada contest 

Two Chemainus Secondary School students have won a Create Your Canada contest created by Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor and will travel to Ottawa in the fall to present a bill they designed in the House of Parliament.

Hannah Pachet and Morgan Bottomley were inspired to enter by Chemainus Secondary School teacher Janet Ruest and their submission for a tax credit for organic farmers fit the bill for the criteria MacGregor created.

“I was thoroughly impressed with the quantity and quality of submissions, which made choosing the winning submission very challenging,” noted MacGregor.

In an email to the girls, “I chose your submission because it was thorough and detailed while also being short, concise, and well organized,” he indicated. “The idea is something that could have positive impacts both locally and nationally. A tax credit for organic farmers fits with my critic area and values, showing awareness of my work in Parliament. Your background research, the stakeholders you identified, and the impacts you imagined might be felt by various stakeholders all showed an understanding of complex issues including: food security, nutrition and healthcare costs, domestic availability, and international trade.

“You also demonstrated having thought through some of the “politics” of the issue, making it clear that while the intent of the proposal is to support growth in the organic farming sector, the intent is also that it would not infringe upon any existing programs some producers may already be benefitting from. Additionally, you provided citations to support your ideas, which allowed for more in-depth research by my office to connect any gaps, which also aided in providing instructions to the House of Commons Legislative Drafters.”

The girls’ proposed bill is currently with Legislative Services in Ottawa. The bill was not ready to be tabled in the House of Commons before the summer break, but MacGregor will table it in the House of Commons in the fall and the girls will be invited to take a trip there to see it happen.

“It is my sincere hope that by working together, thinking about the issues affecting Canada, and coming up with an idea for legislation, that you became authors of your own empowerment and that you stay engaged with the Canadian political process in the years and decades ahead,” MacGregor added in his message.

“We kind of thought about it for a few weeks,” said Pachet. “We weren’t sure if we were going to do it.”

After Ruest suggested the topic in the girls’ Geography class, “we came up with a bill,” Pachet pointed out.

“We literally looked at hundreds of websites and tried to research it.”

“We didn’t have any ideas when Alistair MacGregor came to our school,” Bottomley indicated. “Ms. Ruest helped us come up with some ideas. I think we did it in about a week.”

The submission was sent at the end of April and the girls didn’t think they’d won since nearly two months had passed.

“It was really surprising after not hearing from them for so long,” said Bottomley.

Ruest made the announcement in front of the Geography class.

“I like that it came from a small school like Chemainus,” reasoned Bottomley. “Getting recognized, I think, is really important.”

She’s already looking forward to the trip.

“I’ve never been to the Toronto, Ottawa area. I’ve been to Quebec, but not so near to politics.”

“I’m incredibly proud of all the students who took part in this contest and submitted ideas, and I commend you for your participation and engagement in the political system,” concluded MacGregor.