Meet This Year's Cabinet (Text Only)

This year's Cabinet has 28 of the most fantastic people. You may not know them yet, but I hope you can meet them at OYP. To give just a little idea of who they are — we've asked them all a few questions.

We have a collection of extremely talented teenagers and young adults who have been working since the summer to make Ontario Youth Parliament a, hopefully, unbelievable experience. Some have been around for quite a while. Others have been learning the ropes with the help of our lovely Exec.
 

Our Executive

Michael Harris
Our Premier extraordinaire
Q: What Are your Pronouns?
He/Him
Q: How did you get Involved in OYP?
I was working at a summer camp in Ottawa and a whole bunch of my friends at the camp had been to OYP / talked about it non-stop. I was finally convinced to go in 2012. I've been attending ever since!
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
If I need to maintain nutritional value: Probably some sort of jambalaya. 
If I can eat whatever I want: Tater Tots.
Q: What are some tip and tricks you could give to first timers?
Don't be afraid to speak up and get involved but also, don't worry if that's not your scene! Parliament can be intimidating and you shouldn't feel like you have to be at the front of all the action all the time. Some of my most rewarding experiences have come from just sitting back and listening to heated debates.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
The Mushroom Kingdom. I will let my answer speak for itself.

Emily Sams
Our Leader of the Opposition
And the Premier's counterpart

Q: What Are your Pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
Quite a few of my older friends from Bay of Quinte Conference (United Church) events were involved with OYP. I heard all of their interesting parliament stories and knew this was something I wanted to be a part of.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Welches Fruit Gummies. I can eat about 10 of those little pouches in one sitting. Plus there has to be some nutritional value if it's "fruit" snacks.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Try to talk to at least one new person every day. Whether you came to OYP with your entire #squad or just by yourself, you will definitely meet so many interesting people over the weekend. Everyone is a little bit nervous and a bit awkward so take a deep breath and say hello to the stranger next to you. Who knows, that person might just become your best friend.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
I would love to live in the enchanted castle from Beauty and the Beast! Who wouldn't want to chill in a castle with enchanted objects serenading you all the time?

Annie Cullinan
Our Minister of Individual Discipleship
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
I met Emily Sams at camp and she messaged me on Facebook a few months later and told me that she would be in Ottawa for a meeting at a church near my house. I went to see her and she had a registration form in her hand and that's how I ended up at OYP 2013 and began my journey with this organization.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Okay, so I have four. My four forever foods would be sushi, salad, cereal and Greek yogurt.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Bring a water bottle, bring a lint brush, break in your shoes PRE parliament, don’t stress, if you feel like you aren’t in on the inside jokes at first, you will be by the end of the weekend, bring candy (for bribing Pages, for your secret friend, or for yourself), and be sure to take care of yourself and ask for help if needed.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Growing up I loved reading the Chronicles of Narnia, so probably Narnia. #basic

Maggie Hutchinson
The Leader of our House
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
Oshawa presbytery and Emily Sams.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Tacos or muffins, can't choose between breakfast or Mexican.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Hold on to your hats, it's the beginning of a wild ride, even if you don't think so.
Q; If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Stars Hollow [Maggie did not elaborate as to the reason why]

Jamieson Aelick
The Minister of our Registration and Finances
Q: What are your pronouns?
He/Him
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
I found some links on the internet of someone saying they were a Minister of OYP, intrigued I signed up and got on the bus to Toronto knowing no one and thus began my OYP journey.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Ham with cloves and pineapple.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
I would say get up and speak, it’s scary but you’ll enjoy it and it’s a way for you to become more confident. Also make sure to try to meet as many different people as possible to get the full experience. Dance with people, put yourself out there, sleep, and HAVE FUN!
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
I would live in the Star Wars universe as a Jedi OR in Alagaesia as a Dragon Rider.

Our Cabinet

PUBLIC RELATIONS

We'll Start things off with the Public Relations and Communications committees. These are the people in charge of reaching out to new delegates, social media, receiving greetings from celebrities and dignitaries. They are led by the Leader of the Opposition: Emily Sams.

Farouk Shoukry
Public Relations Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
He/Him
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
I was in grade 12 and I was looking for new ways to develop myself and get some unique experience. So I literally went to Google when day and typed “leadership opportunities in Ontario” and two pages OYP shows up. I click it and it takes me to this artfully crafted website and I was ecstatic about the opportunity. It was really helpful to be in my hometown. I think it was after a week that I hit that register button and let’s just say I am very happy that I did.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Sushi.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
If you’re excited for debate be sure to read legislation package and read the newspaper! Remember that you’re always comfortable and feel free to ask exec, cabinet or ARCs any questions you have. Lastly, OYP has something for everyone so I am confident your expectations will be met.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
The first thought that came to mind is the world of Thedas in the Dragon Age video game series.

Hannah Tarr
Public Relations Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
My mom went when she was my age, then my step brother went and really enjoyed it so I decided to tag along.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Sweet and sour chicken.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Don't be afraid to speak your mind and put yourself out there! You won't regret it, even if it's out of your comfort zone.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
I would live in Stars Hollow, because wherever Lorelai Gilmore leads, I will follow.

Nic Hull
Public Relations Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
They/Them
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
Way back in 2011 some of my friends told me that there was this thing that I NEEDED to go to because it was really great and they had had a good time there. So onward to OYP I went.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Eggs. there are so many different ways to make eggs.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Bring friends with you: share the experience with people who will understand the inside jokes even after you come home. Talk to the people around you in the parliament house and the dinner table. Stay up late (but not too late) hanging out with the delegates you're billeting with, and allow yourself have fun.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
I'd go and live in the shire. It seems pretty cool there with those Hobbits.

Bronwyn Clifton
Communications Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
I knew a handful of people who had gone to OYP in the past, and they all loved it. I've known Tia, the other communications minister, for years, and she messaged me the link to the website and told me to register. I took her word for it and have loved it ever since.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Potatoes, they can be made into so many different dishes and are filled with fibre and nutrients. It's a win, win.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Step out of your comfort zone whenever you can. Do not avoid things because of fear that you'll be embarrassed. OYP is filled with the most accepting people in the world and if there is one place that is perfect to try new things, it's OYP.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Without a doubt Hogwarts. Or the general Wizarding World. If I went to school there it means I have achieved my life goal of being a wizard.

Tia Hywarren
Communications Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
Michael Harris... He came back from his first OYP and couldn't stop talking about it, so the next year I just had to go.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Magic Cookies.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Don't let being quiet stop you from coming. Really don't let anything stop you from coming. Once you are here, you fall in love.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Narnia.

LOVE AND SPIRIT COMMITTEE

Next up is the Love and Spirit Committee. They are responsible for everything from writing bows and cheers, and songs, to co-ordinating with local and global charities. They are a big part of the energy at OYP and they are lead by the Minister of Individual Discipleship, Annie Cullinan, and her opposition minister, Davis Gallagher.

Davis Gallagher
Opposition Minister of Individual Discipleship
Q: What are your pronouns?
He/Him
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
My parents met at OYP and as a result I was raised in the organization.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Pizza [and thats all he wrote. just one word: pizza]
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Don't be afraid to get involved. This experience is great to begin with but the more involved you get the better it gets. It's such an accepting place free from judgement to honestly you have nothing to lose.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Probably middle earth because I just finished binge watching the Lord of the Rings extended editions on Netflix so that's kind of where my brain has been living recently.

Marjorie Sams
Whip
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
My sister dragged me and know I'm in love.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Mac and Cheese.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Don't be afraid to stand up and talk in the house, it is such a great feeling being able to express your thoughts.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Hogwarts because I would love to see all the magic.

Joshua Sievert
Whip
Q: What are your pronouns?
He/Him
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
My mom introduced me to it.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Pad Thai.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Don't be afraid to talk to people! It's worth your time to get to know as many people as possible!
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Hogwarts, and magic duh ;)

Camryn Gallagher
Minister of Music
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
My parents met there so I've been involved since I was born. I've loved every second.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Mac and cheese.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Talk to lots of people. I promise we're friendly and don't bite.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Stars Hollow with Rory and Lorelei Gilmore because they're fantastic people and this should be self-explanatory.

Hilary Wilson
Love Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
A family friend told my sister and me that we would be going to OYP in February 2011, it was January 2011.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Pizza.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
We have a lot of very odd traditions at OYP that not everyone may even know why we do them, but every single one of them builds in the OYP experience so just let yourself go and dance like the crazy maniac you want to be.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
I would want to live in Middle Earth because I would want live with the Hobbits to have 2nd breakfast every day.

Jennifer Cooke
Love Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
A past premiere essentially made the decisions for me that I was coming to OYP my first year. The negotiation between her and my mother had already been made as to all the logistics. I had no choice in the matter. So here I am.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Avocados and milk.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Over pack but don't over pack. Speak in the house everyone will love you and you will get candy! Start talking to everyone once you get there. Everyone is super cool and totally down to chat (pro tip their just as nervous as you).
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Forbidden forest... unicorns and trees.

HOUSE COMMITTEE

Then we have the House Committee, These folks are responsible for the goings on inside the house. This includes leading the house, deciding the order of business, writing the majority of the legislation for the weekend, and helping ministers and delegates to write special legislation. They led by the House Leader, Maggie Hutchinson, and Her opposition, Erica Geen.

Erica Geen
Opposition House Leader
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
I heard about it through a friend in the Rotary Adventures in Citizenship Program, took a chance, and haven't looked back since!
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Cherry Pie.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Get involved in debate! OYP is a place to let your voice be heard, and no matter what side you are on, everyone has something wonderful and unique to contribute.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Hogwarts! Imma be a Ravenclaw yo.

Elys Gardiner
Legislation Minister

Q: What are your pronouns?
They/Them
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
I got involved through the United Church. I specifically remember some OYP leaders I now call my friends doing a presentation at a youth gathering. I decided I'd try it out - and now here I am.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Pasta!
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
1) Things can be overwhelming, don't be afraid to step out for a bit.
2) Speak up! I promise people aren't judging you like you think they are.
3) Have fun! OYP is a time to leave your stress at home and experience new things without it holding you back.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
I'd live in the Indigenous North America from Disney's Pocahontas - the one where colonisation and genocide are exchanged for romance.

Eliza Moratz
Legislation Minister

Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
My sister went before me, and we found out about it through people at the Bay of Quinte Conference!
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Chocolate Ice Cream.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Immerse yourself in the weekend and don't worry too much. I actually wrote a blog post last year about things I've learned (it's old but still relevant).
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
I'd want to live in the Harry Potter world, except with more fun magic and less war/death. Who doesn't want to be able to turn into a cat and eat magic candy?

Julien Quesnel
Legislation Minister

Q: What are your pronouns?
He/Him
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
A friend from camp told me all about it and it absolutely amazed me how cool it sounded.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Pasta.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
The best thing you can do at OYP is to put yourself out there. It can be scary to try and speak for the first time, or to try and make friends, and that's ok. You don't have to conquer that fear right away, but make sure to try whatever it is you're afraid of regardless of your fear. This is a new chance, take it.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Narnia.

Lauren Drew
Legislation Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
A friend of mine from high school pulled me in for OYP 2014 and I've attended every one since!
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Pasta (especially the spiral noodle kinds)
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Once the legislation topics are released via email, do some research on them beforehand, make notes and bring those notes with you to the House to refer to. You'll feel a lot more prepared for debate and it will motivate you to get up, bang on your desk, shout "Madam Speaker!" and share your wonderful ideas.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
I'd live in Neverland so I could stay a kid and never have to do my taxes (it's so confusing!).

Yannick Grignon
Legislation Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
He/Him
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
Lots of people in my area go (Lindsay, represent!) so I thought I'd give it a go.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Bread, probably. Can't go wrong with bread.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
If you want to speak (and I hope you do), jot down a few points before standing up. It's surprising how much more comfortable and confident you'll feel. Also, just talk to people! I guarantee you'll find some new friends.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Springfield. Every day there's a new funny and outrageous scenario that invariably gets resolved. How can that not be great?

Finance Committee

Last (but not least), we have the finance committee. These people do things like planning menus, coordinating billets, getting sponsors, organizing the banquet, and balancing the budget. They are led by the Registrar and Finance Minister, Jamieson Aelick, and his opposition, Natasha Walton.

Natasha Walton
Opposition Registrar and Finance Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
I Was invited to go by the Reed's as their dad was my churches minister.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Baked brie.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
The more you put in to OYP the more you will get out of it. Don't be afraid to share your opinion.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Hogwarts castle. The ground is beautiful, there is always lots of delicious food you don’t have to make yourself, you get to practice magic, and you get to play quidditch ( or watch if you’re no good at it).

Brileigh Hardcastle
Local Arrangements Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
A previous delegate/house leader had mentioned it and I thought "eh, why not"
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Pasta
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Maybe bring some tea or lozenges because you will probably lose your voice by the end of the weekend
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
The star trek universe seems tolerable (like Voyager and onwards)

Katelyn Cody
Local Arrangements Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/Her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
I'm very involved with the United Church of Canada, and about 4 years ago I met Emily Sams through a National event. Emily invited me to OYP and I was hooked.
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Potatoes
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Be authentically and unapologetically yourself; you will fall in love with OYP and OYP will fall in love with you.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
If I could live in a fictional location it would be Wonderland.

Tess Morasse
Local Arrangements Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
My sister was super involved and the year OYP came to the church I go to, I was a page and I absolutely loved it. During the joke bill, I got to speak!
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Tacos
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Be yourself!! Everyone at OYP is so welcoming! 
Don't be afraid to ask questions! It's the best way to meet new people. 
Try to say something in the house! Once you get the first words out, it gets a whole lot easier.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
I would want to live at Hogwarts because I've always loved Harry Potter, and magic. The world seems so interesting!

Collin van der Zee
Sponsorship Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
He/Him
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
Some friends that I made at the 21st General Council of the United Church convinced me to go, that was over four years ago!
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Pasta, there is a lot of different types and ways to make it.
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
Don't be afraid to get up and speak whatever is on your mind, and make lots of friends. Actually just be yourself.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Probably Radiator Springs from 'Cars' because childhood dreams and who doesn't like talking cars.

Melissa Bakker
Sponsorship Minister
Q: What are your pronouns?
She/her
Q: How did you get involved with OYP?
A cabinet meeting was held at my church and the then premier invited me to attend. I was too young, but I signed up right away the next year!
Q: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Sushi
Q: What are some tips and tricks you could give to first timers?
If you have something to say, say it! Seriously, no one will care if you fumble a bit, and you'll feel awesome afterward. Also, bring your own water bottle and a pair of safety flats if heels are your thing.
Q: If you could live in a fictional location, which would it be and why?
Hands down, Skyrim. The scenery is beautiful, the food looks amazing, and doing quests for the masses sounds like a pretty good day job to me.