Spring has Sprung🌸

Hiya friends! It’s been quite a while since I have shared an update on my internship.  I honestly feel like a blossoming flower with this change in season, cherry blossom time of the  year, and in my work. I’ll get right into reflections and highlights from the past bit… 

Office Life

As I introduced in my last post, I am now working in MPP Belinda Karahalios’ office. As with my first placement, I had the opportunity to spend time in her constituency office in Cambridge. A highlight for me was being able to provide a briefing to her team in the constituency on a project that I have been working related to her portfolios. I have also enjoyed attending training and workshops that the office did not have the capacity to attend to due to other work priorities. Since MPP Karahalios is also a Parliamentary Assistant, her office is situated in the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services. And since the Ministry has physically moved down the road from Queen’s Park, as the old building is under renovations, I feel, like I have not only changed from one to another office, but to several in the tenure of this internship. I have also been welcomed to use an office space in MPP Kaleed Rasheed’s office, as MPP Karahalios does not have a physical office in the Main Legislature building, so in many ways, I feel like MPP Rasheed’s honourary OLIP intern too. Other work highlights have been writing some speeches for MPP Karahalios, supporting research on her Private Members’ Bill and anything else in between! I am looking forward to the remaining time in her office where we will be working more on her Ministerial portfolios including human trafficking, an issue area that the Ministry has identified as high-priority.

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Photo: MPP Karahalios + me in front of her constituency office in Cambridge. Fun fact: her office use to be an old train ticket office or bank (we think) with some of the same architectural features still in tact like a giant safe/vault and ticketing window inside… 

Private Members’ Public Bills are often referred to as PMBs/Private Members’ Bills for short. These are Bills – ideas that is a proposal to make a new law(s) or amend an existing one(s) – that are introduced by MPPs, who are not Ministers, and debated on. The only caveat is that they cannot impose a tax or direct any public funds within their proposal. If a PMB makes is successfully through the debates channels, and passes, it becomes law! 

Programme Highlights

As part OLIP, each intern is to complete an academic paper and poster on a topic related to legislative affairs of their choice. My paper looks at how the electoral boundary readjustments took place in Ontario during the recent elections, and how it impacts the work of MPP’s constituency offices. I am so happy to say that my paper and poster is complete (!!!) after several cups of coffee, tears cried, and long writing stretches later… Jokes aside, to my pleasant surprise, I had a number of MPPs agree to be interview. It was a surreal experience to sit one-on-one with our decision and law makers. For me personally, the moments in these interviews are ones that I will cherish post-internship. The next steps is to present my research at the Canadian Political Science Association’s Annual Conference, which is hosted in Vancouver this year!

Beyond changing offices and the research paper, March, April and this first half of May were filled with more interesting meetings and events alongside the interns and opportunities to learn from stakeholders in the province. We had an official Brampton Day of meetings, which I was personally excited for as it is my hometown. I also had the opportunity to an intern takeover on our Instagram account, which I was able to share some behind-the-scenes into what a work day looks like for me at the ‘lege. As well, I was able to support in the recruitment process for the programme with visits and presentations to students at some universities in the Greater Toronto Area.

Below are a couple of memorable moments:

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Photo: The Interns alongside former Premier Bill Davis in Brampton! 

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Photo: The Interns relived our prom experience at Wonk Prom! 

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Photo: The second and final issue of Queen’s Park Insider is published – which I had the opportunity to help put together! Our cover is from our time visiting the Legislature in Yellowknife, NWT. 

Final Reception and Reflections (For Now)

As with our first placements in the fall, we hosted another reception for the programme. It was a full circle moment because I attended last year’s programme spring reception not too soon after accepting a position with the internship. I remember the mix of emotions being inside Queen’s Park for the first time – I was nervous of course, super awkward, but most of all, incredibly excited for the journey ahead. And hosting our final reception being within the programme was a surreal moment being among my fellow interns and my friends, whom I was able to invite to be a part of a life milestone. In soaking in the moment, I realized how far I had personally come: still nervous and excited, but more confident in myself for being in the space that was once immensely foreign to me. This is of course not the formal end yet as there’s most internship to go, more experiences to be had, and learnings to gain.

Photos: Me alongside MPP Karahalios (left) and the interns with our Honourary Intern, Dr. J. this year @ our Spring Reception! 

Photos: Me alongside my amazing friends Anouchka, Mariam & Tasha also @ our Spring Reception. Thanks for coming ❤ 

Until next time,

LB

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