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In the seat of power

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services

Fort Liard (Nov 10/06) - Lindsay Berreault and Trye Timbre don't think they want to be members of the legislative assembly when they get older.

These two students from Echo Dene school in Fort Liard have some experience to base their decision on.

Berreault and Timbre spent a week as pages at the legislative assembly. They were able to see close up how the territorial government functions.

Getting to Yellowknife was an adventure in itself for Timbre, 12, who had never been on a plane before.

"I like to travel," Timbre said.

The two students flew from Fort Simpson on Oct. 22 and were met by Nahendeh MLA Kevin Menicoche at the airport in Yellowknife. Menicoche happens to be Timbre's great-uncle.

Not everyone can be a page. Berreault and Timbre discovered there are lots of rules to follow. The two had to wake up early on Oct. 23 for training during their first day at the assembly.

"It was just like school," said Timbre about rising early.

The first order of business was uniforms.

All the pages were given navy-coloured shirts and embroidered vests to wear. Girls wore skirts while boys wore pants. Black shoes finished off the outfits.

Timbre and Berreault were then taken to the media room to meet the six other pages and learn about the rules.

"I felt nervous because of the other pages there," said Berreault.

Pages can't chew gum in the chamber. There are also no jackets, cameras or snacks allowed in the viewing room, said Berreault, 13.

Although the pages got breaks and could go to the cafeteria, they weren't allowed to buy pop or chocolate bars.

There are even rules about the way pages walk. You have to stand straight," said Timbre.

Both students agreed that the duties of a page aren't very hard. Timbre said he passed notes for the MLAs and refilled water glasses. Getting ice for the cups was also part of Berreault's duties.

When they aren't doing their duties, the pages get to sit and watch the MLAs at work.

MLAs seem to do a lot of talking, said Timbre. "I got bored sometimes," he said.

Discussions about education and algae stick out in Berreault's mind. "Sometimes they talked for a long time," she said. But all the MLAs were nice, said Berreault. They said hi and asked where the pages were from. Despite their experiences, becoming an MLA isn't in Berreault's or Timbre's future plans.

"It's a bit boring," Timbre said.