Students attending the first day of this year’s Queen’s University Model Parliament quickly (and literally) became all a-twitter when they realized the conference was being crashed by Canadian comedian and political satirist, Rick Mercer.
It appeared Mercer had indeed responded their Fall campaign aimed at getting the popular television personality to attend this annual event, as was mentioned in a November article in the Kingston Herald.
Just a week prior, the Queen’s Model Parliament committee had posted a video on Youtube entitled “QMP 2011 Rant” that encouraged Mercer to check out at this January’s conference.
Presented in the style of Mercer’s own rants on CBC’s “The Rick Mercer Report”, students made the case that youth today are not apathetic about politics, and pointed out a number of solutions to real-world problems that the previous year’s Model Parliament had achieved.
According to Twitter posts by attendees on January 19 – QMP 2011’s opening day – Mercer played the part of a House of Commons page, delivering water and even giving a back rub to delegates. He also spent time playing the part of Speaker of the House of Commons for students, a duty usually filled by Kingston and the Islands M.P, Peter Milliken.
Milliken also attended the event to interact with the students, as did many other VIPs that included former Prime Minister John Turner and Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau.
This unique conference, now in its 64th year, allows students the opportunity to debate, discuss and experiment with novel points of view. Peter Milliken, a Queen’s University graduate, is credited with enabling students to hold the conference in the actual House of Commons for the past 18 years.
This year, the Honourable Speaker also hosted the traditional Wine and Cheese gathering for students in the Centre Block of Parliament.
As was tweeted by delegates at the time, Rick Mercer’s antics in the House of Commons were filmed for the “Rick Mercer Report” and that episode is set to air tonight at 8pm on the CBC network.
UPDATE: Episode can now be viewed below.