One thing has become apparent to me after spending four months interning on Parliament Hill. There is no “I” in “Government”. In other words, I have learned that politics is a team sport and that representing the public will is not something that can be achieved by any person alone. Instead, my time in Marco Mendicino’s office has shown me that effective governing requires people to work together; to constantly communicate, coordinate, and cooperate with one another.
The notion that politics is a team sport has been demonstrated to me time and time again over the past several weeks. From constantly liaising with staff in Marco’s Constituency Office, to organizing events, to crafting speeches, to doing research assignments, Marco and his staff have allowed me to witness the power that a group of dedicated people possess when they work together towards a shared goal.
And work we did. A particular highlight of being part of team Marco has been learning how to work effectively in a variety of new and, at times, unfamiliar settings. In mid-July, for instance, I was tasked with organizing a Climate Change Town Hall in Marco’s riding, Eglinton-Lawrence (colloquially referred to as ‘EgLaw’). The Town Hall was particularly interesting to help organize because it allowed me to see how deeply the residents of EgLaw care for their community. The Town Hall also gave me an idea of how much work is involved in bringing people together; and more importantly of how much a community benefits when its members are given the chance to engage with their elected representatives in robust discussion and respectful debate. It has been through spending time in Marco’s riding that I have seen democracy at work and become familiar with a once unfamiliar corner of Canada – and for that I will always be grateful.
I have also been lucky enough to interact with a larger parliamentary team throughout my experience. Beyond forging wonderful relationships with a number of MPs and their staff, I have had the chance to meet with a few big names from “Team Journalism” and “Team Bureaucracy”. Together, by interacting with people from different professional backgrounds and skillsets, I have gotten a holistic taste of what it means to devote one’s self to public service. I have learned that “Team Hill Office” cannot operate without “Team Constituency Office” and vice versa; that “Team House of Commons” relies “Team Journalism”; and that “Team Government” works alongside “Team Opposition” more than one might think. Indeed, my internship experience has illustrated to me the importance of teamwork in serving the public.