Accurately describing the different feelings and experiences that you gain from working as an intern on Parliament Hill is pretty hard to do. As a Jaimie Anderson intern, I have had the opportunity to become a member of MP Charlie Angus’ team and work on anything and everything under the sun, at an incredibly high-pace. On a daily basis, I research and draft countless questions, letters, and briefing notes, as well as, get the wonderful opportunity to sit in numerous interesting meetings and debates. Juggling these tasks on top of attending multiple receptions, picnicking for lunch with the other interns, and of course, dodging swarms of tourists on a daily basis coming to and from Centre Block every week, has been a blast to say the least.
Working for Charlie has been so much fun. He and his team, work tirelessly to make positive change in our country and its incredibly rewarding to be a part of it.
While it is inarguable that Charlie is a passionate politician, who fights for vulnerable Canadians, he is also a fantastic musician and writer. I have heard his music on more than a few mornings in the office, and have been able to read his touching book Children of the Broken Treaty on my weekend train rides back to Toronto.
As expected, Indigenous affairs - which is Charlie’s critic work - has been a dominating issue this past month. With the recent devastating suicide crisis impacting Attawapiskat youth, and the ongoing, troubling health crises that are impacting communities across the country, I have been learning a lot about Indigenous issues in Canada. And although, I have long studied and understood the disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada in relation to education, health services, housing, etc…; I don’t think I fully comprehended the severity of these issues until I was working on them firsthand in this office.
Two particular highlights involve my time witnessing and working on materials for the Indigenous Affairs Committee (INAN), a committee that MP Charlie Angus sits on as Vice Chair. Firstly, during my second week on the Hill, I was offered the opportunity to draft questions for INAN when our Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna came to discuss her file in relation to Indigenous Peoples in Canada. This was exciting because I was able to apply my environmental background to this job and witness Charlie ask my questions concerning Indigenous involvement in environmental negotiations, as well as treaty rights and infringements in the region. Secondly, I got the opportunity to draft an NDP Supplementary Report to a final report done on the health study that INAN just completed. Having the chance to be this involved with Charlie’s team in my second and third week on the job was incredibly fulfilling.
One of the most surreal parts of this internship is the random encounters one has every day in the hallways of the House of Commons. You have the opportunity to run into MPs, Ministers and sometimes even, party leaders in the halls in between meetings or on your way to work. This internship is also facilitating some really exciting visits to media outlets and lobbyists, which are making this summer even more meaningful!
In the next three months, I’ll have the opportunity to join Charlie on a visit to the riding. I have never been to Northern Ontario and I’m really excited to spend some time there and see constituency-related work. I’m looking forward to the rest of this internship and cannot wait to see what it has in store for me next!