Click here to download the TUXIS Parliament of Alberta's official history booklet, which was written by alumni archivist Fred Holberton to commemorate the 75th Session.
The TUXIS Movement
We are the oldest youth parliament in Alberta and the longest continuously running youth parliament in Canada. The founder of the TUXIS movement was Taylor Statten. Since the idea was first presented by Mr. Statten, there have been many individuals who have made valuable contributions to the growth and development of this movement and to whom great credit is due. The structure of the TUXIS movement was initially arrived at by the process of experimentation with many types of existing movements, especially those of the YMCA and the churches, under the inspiration and guidance of Taylor Statten, a YMCA secretary, and others. The TUXIS movement evolved gradually, making much use of the trial and error method and making use of many ideas that were obtained from other boys' programs.
However, it was the first distinctly Canadian movement to be created by Canadians for Canadians and in that it occupied a special place among the programs for the Canadian boy. Taylor Statten, working with another Toronto YMCA Secretary, Wallace Forgie, developed a program of "Efficiency Tests" for boys, based on a study of nature and learning in the great outdoors as the best training for citizenship. While working on this "Efficiency Tests" program, Forgie was inspired to tie them into a four-fold program involving the following aspects: Intellectual, Physical, Spiritual, and Social. The scripture base was to be the verse describing the youthful life of Jesus of Nazareth: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and Man." (Luke 2:52)
In October 1918 two programs under the covering name of "Canadian Standard Efficiency Training" were offered to Canadian boys. The Trail Ranger program was for boys 12 to 14, with its own emblems, crests, ceremonies, and badges. The TUXIS program (Training for Service, with Christ in the centre, and you and I on either side, with no-one but Christ between us) was for boys from 15 to 17. In 1920 the National Boys' Work Board of the Religious Education Council of Canada was established. Each province had its provincial Boys' Work Board affiliated with the National Body. Ten years later the C.S.E.T. Program had approximately 2500 groups registered in the 1000 Canadian cities with nearly 30 000 boys. The designation C.S.E.T. was dropped in 1932 and the word TUXIS was adopted as the covering name for the entire program. In 1919, Wallace Forgie became Alberta's first Boys' Work Secretary. He remained with the Boys' Work Board in Alberta during the formation years until 1925 when another YMCA leader, C.E. "Chuck" Hendry assumed the position.
Taylor Statten believed that the boys involved in a program of training should be able to determine what that program should be and that adult advisers should not impose their opinion and ideas on the young people. Only if the boys were given this responsibility would they really develop qualities of leadership. Out of this basic philosophy, the concept of Older Boys' Parliament was born. The Older Boy's Parliaments were not to be "mock parliaments" in any sense of the term. These parliaments were to be genuinely endowed with the authority to legislate for the C.S.E.T. program and to become the vehicle of government and planning. Parliament was to be a direct means for the practical working out of the ideas and suggestions of the boys who were the leaders in the C.S.E.T. program. As a by-product the members would learn parliamentary procedure, public speaking, and debate. In 1917 Ontario held its first Older Boys' Parliament. A Lieutenant Governor opened the Session and a duly elected Speaker presided. There was a Clerk of the House and a Sergeant-at-Arms. A Premier and a Leader of the Opposition led the two-party House.
The Alberta Boys' Older Parliament
The first Session of the Alberta Older Boy's Parliament was held in the Legislative Chamber of the Provincial Government in Edmonton, from December 28th through the 30th, 1920. The first Premier was Edward Hunter Gowan. Armour Ford was elected as the first Speaker. Leader of the Opposition was James Robin Davidson. The mayor of Edmonton, D.M. Duggan, acted as Lieutenant Governor. The purposes of the Parliament were: to encourage young people to seek out and face the challenge of Christian living, by bringing together representative members from the province of Alberta; to train its members in the arts of logical thought and self-expression; to educate its members, through participation, in the processes of Parliament, and the responsibility of citizenship; and through a related program of activities throughout the year, develop and train young people as Christian leaders. Older Boys' Parliaments were formed across the country, and the Alberta Parliament celebrated its 75th Session in December 1994. This Alberta Parliament continued during World War II and thus became the only youth parliament in Canada to have an unbroken record of 76 years.
TUXIS Takes Shape
The Alberta Parliament operated under the name Alberta Older Boys' Parliament until 1932 when the word TUXIS was introduced into the name. The word TUXIS still remains with the name, and Alberta is the only Parliament that retains this meaningful word in the title. Legislation originally concerned only with the Canadian Standard Efficiency Tests shifted to an emphasis on current social issues. Resolutions opposing conscription (35th Session) and recognizing Red China (39th Session) attracted considerable public attention. Some of the time spent in debate was reduced to allow discussion of a Christian theme, and this now occupies an equally important position in the Session. The Religious Educational Council of Alberta, for many years the sponsors of the TUXIS Parliament of Alberta, ceased to exist and in 1962 the TUXIS and Older Boys' Parliament Alumni Society was formed. The members of this Society now provide financial backing and continuity to the Parliament.
The 60th Session of the Parliament approved a resolution inviting young women to attend the Parliament and share in the companionship of TUXIS. This same year also approved a resolution to change the name from "TUXIS and Older Boys' Parliament of Alberta" to "TUXIS Parliament of Alberta". Young women first attended the 62nd Session in 1981 at Red Deer and soon entered into the leadership when LaVonne Rosvick was elected Premier for the 67th Session. Alberta Parliament has taken up leadership in providing opportunities for sharing programs with other parliaments, and for a number of years members of this Parliament were sent as Ambassadors to Saskatchewan and British Columbia. During Canada's Centennial year the Alberta Alumni Society sponsored the First National Parliament in Calgary. Ten members from each of the eight Parliaments met for five days of deliberation. During the summer of 1983 the TUXIS Parliament of Alberta hosted the first Western Canada Youth Parliament with delegates representing the four western Parliaments in attendance.
In 1994 the Parliament had its 75th Session in the Legislature in Edmonton. That year, the Parliament had 65 members from across the province. The 75th Session featured a reunion of Alumni from past Sessions, with a keynote address from the Lieutenant Governor of that Session, the Very Reverend George M. Tuttle, one of many former TUXIS Parliamentarians who have proceeded to important positions in the church. It is a rare community in Alberta that has not felt the impact of leadership given by a member of the TUXIS Parliament. All levels of government have within them former members of the Parliaments. Certainly the professions list among their memberships individuals who in former days benefited greatly from the training and inspiration of this body. This is not surprising when one realizes that, over the past 79 years, nearly three thousand young men and women have signed the Oath of Allegiance upon becoming a member of the TUXIS Parliament.
Originally written in 1994 by Alumni Archivist Fred Holberton, to commemorate the TUXIS Parliament's 75th session.
Image Retrieved from the Mount Royal University Archives.