The second week of my internship has been much different than the first. The House of Commons is sitting now, so all of the Members of Parliament (MPs) are in town conducting business so this week was a lot more busier than last week and I felt more productive in my office. For the most part, I’ve moved on from data entry to more interesting, long term projects such as drafting a franked letter about funding for marine research that was just approved for my MP’s riding. I’ve gotten to know my MP a little more while sitting in on her meetings with lobbyists on the Parliament Hill, and I’m starting to feel more comfortable navigating my way around (getting lost was one of my initial concerns).
Something that surprised me about this internship has been the amount of events and receptions that I have access to as an intern. Receptions are an opportunity for staffers, interns, MPs, and ministers to get together after work. Receptions are typically centered around a specific theme; for instance, there was one called Taiwan night where they fosters relationships with different countries and provide an opportunity to understand different cultures. One reception that I went to this week was the celebration of the Canadian, centennial of women’s suffrage which was at the Nature Museum. I thought it was amazing and got to see Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Kirsty Duncan, the Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, speak about the importance of providing opportunities for women and making things like childcare and maternal leave more accessible.
Another highlight of the week for me was going to Question Period, which is where members of the minority parties (Conservative and New Democratic Party) ask the Prime Minister and other members of the government questions. Question period is every day and interns have access to the gallery where we can watch MPs ask there questions in real life. I was surprised by how excitable some of the MPs can get when they ask a question or when they don’t like someone’s response to their question. Several times, the Speaker of the House had to ask some MPs to stay quiet and respectful.