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Democracy in the Classroom: A Parliamentary Committee Simulation

Veggie Bill

*Some information in this publication is out of date following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.*

The Vegetable Harmony Act simulates a parliamentary committee's deliberations on a bill to limit the rights of parents to serve unpopular vegetables to their children. This simulation can be adapted for use in any classroom.

This simulation is designed to introduce teachers and students to the work of parliamentary committees in the Parliament of Canada. Parliamentary committees are an important part of the legislative process. They serve to review, amend and offer recommendations on draft legislation (bills) as it is passed through both the Senate and the House of Commons. It is in committees that proposed legislation is most heavily scrutinized and where parliamentarians have an opportunity to study issues in depth. Committees also provide the opportunity for parliamentarians to hear testimony from witnesses (government representatives, experts, interest groups and individual Canadians) on legislative issues. The consultation process in a committee setting helps to ensure that the opinions of Canadians are included in the official public record and taken into consideration in legislative deliberations.

The simulation is organized around a parliamentary committee meeting, as well as the committee's role in examining, debating, amending and reporting on a bill. Students assume the roles of senators or members of the House of Commons, ministers, witnesses, committee chairs, clerks and members of the press gallery.

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