Former MP, professor to give Trinity Western Mel Smith lecture

Trinity Western University’s 15th annual Mel Smith Lecture will feature former MP and founding TWU professor Benno Friesen.

In his lecture, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the House,” Friesen will explore why structural changes to the operations of the House of Commons to make relations less toxic and more productive, may not be as significant as the personal character and virtues of individual MPs.

Friesen’s insights result from 19 years of first-hand experience. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1974. He was re-elected four times, in a riding dominated by Surrey but also including parts of Langley at times.

He remains keenly interested in politics.

Friesen was among TWU’s founding faculty when the university first opened its doors 50 years ago. He served as English professor and dean of students from 1962 to 1972.

The free lecture is on Thursday (Feb. 7) at 7 p.m. at the Northwest Building Auditorium. All are welcome. The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer period.

During the event, the recipient of the 2013-14 Mel Smith Scholarship will be announced. Each year, this scholarship is awarded to a TWU student of exceptional academic ability, majoring in Canadian history or political science.

The Mel Smith Special Collection — chronicling federal-provincial relations during the crucial period 1967 to 1992 — is housed in TWU’s archives and includes a comprehensive set of professional and personal constitutional papers. The collection provides a unique, B.C. perspective on Canadian constitutional issues, and is available to students and researchers from all institutions.


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