When my NCCAR parliamentary internship had an unorthodox start, I had to completely readjust my expectations. Unfortunately, the original Member of Parliament that I had been assigned to had unexpected changes in his office and could no longer take me on as an intern. The coordinator at the time, Hoda, explained to me that she needed to start a search for a new Member of Parliament. Slightly disappointed with the delayed start with my internship, I was still eager to be exposed to the political field. My eagerness, however, was not enough to quicken the process of finding a new Member of Parliament.
In the thick of it all, I would not have expected the offices that I would be working with be that of someone I admired. I was placed in the offices of Elizabeth May and Bruce Hyer of the Green Party of Canada.
The first week or so of my internship was quite exciting. Mr. Hyer’s office was in the Confederation Building, a beautiful and inspirational workspace. My internship started towards the end of the parliamentary session, I didn’t get a glimpse of the hustle and bustle of preparation needed for the House of Commons. I was able to view a Question Period, which was truly amazing to watch the MPs live in action.
To end my week of parliamentary firsts, I was invited to Elizabeth May’s Birthday Lunch to meet all of the members of the Green Party. It was great to see people of all ages and backgrounds contributing to the Party. The highlight of the party was listening to Ms. May’s thank you speech to the Green Party team. It revealed so much about Ms. May and the Party’s political intention. I was exposed to different methods of analyzing certain political issues first hand.
The policy research I did was for Bruce Hyer’s constituency in Thunder Bay- Superior North. The Canadian population is aging; thus, making the needs for the average Canadian different from what it was 40 years ago. The majority of my research centered on making the healthcare system more efficient, and government subsidized long-term care facilities for the elderly. I was also able to analyze and summarize a report by the Environment Committee on the negative aspects of Nuclear Power Plants because of my scientific knowledge. I had other tasks as well, such as correspondence, which consisted of responding to emails, surveys and mail on issues within the constituency.
I was fortunate to spend the majority of my time in Mr. Hyer’s office. He was an ecologist, which led to many discussions about our common love for biology. I am grateful for all the advice and knowledge that Mr. Hyer has passed down to me. Patty and Holly were a joy to work with, as they always created a warm and welcoming environment. My last day at the office was bittersweet; Patty and Holly gave me a leather bound House of Commons notebook as a parting gift, but I know that we will stay in contact in the future.
When asked why I was interested in the Parliamentary internship, I answered “to acquire knowledge of the Canadian political process, (especially after the most recent elections in Quebec taught me why it is important to be politically aware)”. However, my experience on the hill gave me more than basic knowledge on the Canadian government. In addition to becoming more driven to find a career that benefits society and becoming a more sophisticated voter, my internship with the Green Party benefitted me on a personal level also.
I have to thank NCCAR for this gratifying experience. My time on the Hill enlightened me on the Canadian political process. It also gave me the opportunity to contribute work for a Member of Parliament at the Federal level. I was exposed to the various viewpoints of different political parties, and the issues that face Canadians. I’ve acquired quite a bit of knowledge during my internship, which helped me form my own opinions on issues that would affect my family and I. Lastly, my writing, editing, research and group work were strengthened through the various tasks I was assigned to. Thank you again, this opportunity was above and beyond my expectations!